The Reel Review
This second, more feminist reboot of 1974’s iconic horror film Black Christmas, about a serial killer stalking members of a college sorority during Christmas break, is similar to its predecessors only in name and basic premise. Instead of threatening calls COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!, in this more modern version, the women get anonymous, threatening texts via a cell phone app as they cope with real life campus horrors like sexual assault. Buzzkill alert!
Co-writer/director Sophia Takai (New Year, New You of the Hulu anthology Into The Dark), in her first studio-backed, feature-length effort, says she wanted to make this #MeToo thriller as full of women empowerment as possible. Sadly, she takes it to such an in-your-face extreme, that any genuine level of female empowerment is completely negated by its cartoonishness. There is one redeeming scene when the sorority women perform a song at a nearby frat house Christmas party.The juxtaposition of biting song lyrics with the sexy costumes straight from the set of Mean Girls makes for quite an impact.
After a pedestrian, but decently average first half, Black Christmas goes completely off the rails with a bizarre, nonsensical plot line a involving a supernatural, woman-hating cult, made even worse by insipid dialogue, more cheesy women empowerment clichés and some totally bonkers story elements. And perhaps worst of all, it is a horror movie that just isn’t scary. There is one semi-clever twist, but even that loses credibility after a couple minutes of reflection, and the big climax is a dud. This film had potential to be a cool, inventive feminist take on an iconic Christmas holiday horror film, but instead, will only have you dreaming of the end credits.
• This is the second remake of the 1974 Black Christmas, after 2006’s lackluster effort, and the first to not be rated R. Co-writer/director Sophia Takai says after initially going for the R, she went for the PG-13 to open it up to a younger female audience.
• This is the first Black Christmas not involving original Black Christmas director Bob Clark, who died a year after serving as an executive producer of the 2006 remake, and actress Andrea Martin (SCTV, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), who was in both prior films.
• Spoiler alert! The trailer gives away key plot points of the film, which has caused considerable backlash towards Universal Studios/Blumhouse Productions.