2019’s Black Christmas is described online as a “loose remake” of the 1974 film of the same name, but that’s putting it mildly. This is in no way a remake. This movie has hi-jacked the title of a semi-classic horror and superimposed it’s own narrative, a messy narrative at that. The plot is no longer about “Billy”, the serial killer in a sorority house attic, instead we have Calvin Hawthorne, a racist, slave-owning, sexist who has his statue (or more accurately bust – ooh err missus) removed from a college after some student protests (yeah, how relevant!). This movie is a muddle of contemporary topics including rape culture, curriculum-based misogyny, anti-patriarchy, the aforementioned removal of white supremacist historical figures, a missing sorority girl, a backstory involving sexual assault (yeah #MeToo), political possession (at last, some actual horror), and a black goo that “draws out [men’s] true alpha” (WTF). Well, that sounds fun… not. Beginning with a quote by a fictitious founder of a fictitious college, you wonder why the whole affair is so intent in evoking real-life events.
Now before I get any daft comments, let me point out that a film-maker has every right to be political, they can even add politics to various genres; just look at Get Out or Snowpiercer for example. But the political gripe has to feel genuine and it has to have a reason within the overall story, a story that the audience can ultimately enjoy. Black Christmas isn’t at all enjoyable on any level. It doesn’t work as social commentary and it doesn’t work as a horror movie so the finished product is next to useless.
Whilst watching this crapfest, it felt like the writers (Sophia Takal and April Wolfe) could foresee the “hate” they’d get and this backlash was referenced within the plot and dialogue (not in a clever meta way, mind you). It also seems that this film wants critics to fall into the trap of seeming bigoted; if you critique this film, you’re sexist, right-wing gammon! There will, no doubt, be some contrived-right morons pissing and moaning about “libtards” and “snowflakes” but on the whole, any criticism is deserved. There’s even a few in-built arguments that the characters have for this very reason; including one where a sorority sister has it out with her boyfriend who says she’s “man-hating”. Basically, this film is so bad at structuring and conveying an opinion, that even the dialogue seems less about telling a story and more about pontificating to the audience (which is an odd thing to do given that cinema-goers are essentially paying the film maker’s wage).
Making a patronising film turns people off the actual issue which makes you wonder what Hollywood’s true intentions are. Either Takal is being manipulated or she’s a sell out (more on that later). It should go without saying that feminism is absolutely something to fight for but for fuck’s sake, can we have some entertainment that isn’t reeking of fake opinions and bullshit moralising? If it’s not Terminator: Dark Fate or The Aeronauts, it’s this shite. The writers in all these cases seem to forget that they’re making entertainment. Takal needs to realise that her creation, no matter her personal opinion, is supposed to be a. a horror and b. entertainment. Whilst watching Black Christmas, at no point did I get scared and at no point was I entertained. Whether it’s supposed to be a political satire or a modern horror, this movie fails in every way possible. I’ll also add that if you create characters that are unsympathetic, then we the audience couldn’t give a toss when they begin to get bumped-off, which is detrimental within the slasher sub-genre.
Even though it wishes it was, this film isn’t a satire about the horror genre, which of course can be sexist, racist, and derivative at times. Unfortunately for Takal and co., films like Scream (1 & 2) or Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil have already satirised slasher films so there’s not much else to be said. So failed-potential-horror-satire aside, I assume this movie is supposed to be a kick in the balls for sexist men. But hang on, if this is supposed to be a “woke” film, then what’s with all the prejudiced shite?
Firstly, why the ageism? Older people don’t know about technology and are therefore out of touch with society (as shown in the “DM” conversation with the campus security guy).
Secondly, why the sexism? We’re constantly shown that women are feeble and weak when compared to men, taking two females to defeat one male. And even when the women do stand-up to the men, it’s not before they cry and blubber like a bunch of girls (sarcasm).
Thirdly, why the racism? The mixed-race black character (Kris) is the foremost militant social justice warrior, whinging about every cause around, but when push comes to shove, she’s the first one to disbelieve her friend and go to the cops!
And finally, why the err… misogyny and rape-shaming? The potential rape victim who Riley helps in the first act, in the third act, she’s the docile, subservient female traitor who sides with the men!
With these bigoted inconsistencies, you can clearly see that this is yet another fake-woke flick courtesy of a fake-woke Hollywood (The Perfection comes to mind). If issues actually mattered to these fake fucks, why don’t they simply donate to a rape crisis centre or protest against institutional sexism. Nope, instead they’ll rape an old-school slasher movie and tack-on some preachy elements and rip us off of our hard-earned cash.
Directed by Sophia Takal, there’s absolutely nothing that works here; the pace, the thrills, the atmosphere, the jump scares… there are none. There’s a wannabe-Exorcist-III antagonist-entering-stage-left potential jump scare but that too fails miserably. In terms of writing, the characters could have been subtle and nuanced but no: all but one of the women are feminists and all the men, well… the jocks are all misogynist rapists (yelling “yeah, bitch!” and the like). The only males who side with the females are weak-looking nerds. When there is something that should come across as humourous (straight, white, men yelling that they’re taking “their power back”) by the time that line occurs, it’s neither clever or seen as pertinent because of the continual faults from the start. And I have to reiterate: there’s no sympathetic characters anywhere to be seen; nobody is likeable, there’s nobody to identify with or champion, they’re all repulsive. Instead of a serial killer at the campus, you’d rather an active shooter gun-down each and every character in this fucking college.
It’s hard to ignore the thickly laid-on politics but don’t forget about the actual plot… Everyone: Helena is missing! Brian raped Riley y’all. But between the diva cups, the faux-woke stance, and the poster containing the corny pun “Slay, Girls” 🙄 who gives a bloody fuck? And oh yeah, the shit-tastic, parody-esque holiday song about being sexually assaulted (which is sung in the first half) plays again during the end credits as though it’s worthy of a second listen!
The original Black Christmas wasn’t a great film but there was some great comedic dialogue and memorable characters. The 2006 remake was a below-average film but the cinematography was top-notch. This version on the other hand, has absolutely no redeeming quality at all… and I mean all. The female leads who are supposed to be the protagonists are all annoying, even more so than the valley-girl twats in the 2006 version. The snow looks like washing powder in the angel-death scene and during the fire-finale it’s quite obviously foam. Then there’s the terrible lines (“you messed with the wrong sisters!”, “your body, your choice”, “we will never be broken”, and the godawful “you can suck a fat fart ’cause you got zeta’d” 🤦🏽). The editing is also appalling (the insertion of the sexual assault over the final confrontation is very cringey and there’s a flashback reveal of all the missing objects as though you couldn’t figure that out – hell, someone could be asleep I guess).
The only thing that’s original in this version of Black Christmas is the casting. The entire cast of the 1974 film were white and even in the 2006 version, there were no people of colour in the sorority house (ironic given the film’s title). One thing that this film does, is acknowledge that there are ethnic minorities at universities, but that’s about it. This is something that arguably should have happened in 2006 but the noughties were a very regressive time for politics and art. But I digress.
The overall sentiment in Black Christmas is about as fake as the social media app “YipYap”. The ironic line “we’re not inspiring anybody, we’re pissing people off” which is spoken by one of the characters, unfortunately applies to the entire script and the finished film. Given that the usual, Hollywood, Caucasian, wannabe-S.J.W.s were once again responsible for creating this virtue signalling garbage, it’d make more sense if this were a remake of…