Black Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I barely recommended it but definitely not for any of the blatant feminist agenda that it bludgeons the viewer with, but the story which tries to be something different.
The lead star is, of course, not wanting to alienate the other 50% of the population that is male that the movie clearly insults for the better part of the 96 minutes of runtime:
“I think it’s important for for men to see the story. I mean, why not? What’s wrong with watching female performances? That’s what it comes down to, ultimately,” says Poots. “It’s for an audience who will appreciate the film and the message.”Black Christmas Star Imogen Poots on Why Men Should See Remake – Variety
What Poots should have said was, “we are a bunch of pissed off women kicking ass on a bunch of rotten men. We turn the tables on the horror tropes.” That would have been great promotion. Honest promotion, too, instead of the nonsense about “an audience who will appreciate the film and the message.”
As a man, I hated the message. It doesn’t portray any men in a positive light. Clearly the message is warped in that regard on reality. It’s fine to make a movie like that, but sell it as such, don’t try to minimize or discount it. I don’t know a single man who will appreciate a movie that gleefully disembowels all men.
What follows is a more thorough film critique including discussion of the ending. If you don’t like SPOILERS then come back once you’ve seen the film. Or if you have no desire in seeing the film based on the reviews, then go ahead and proceed.
… you’ve been warned SPOILERS ahead …
Ok, let’s get into it.
Lack of romantic chemistry
Landon’s character is a mess. No character arc, he just comes off as some whimpy, weak guy who is interested in the main character, Riley.
Worse for Landon is Riley having zero chemistry. It’s like she’s reluctantly agreeing to pick up a stray dog when she offers him to tag along with the group.
Landon is portrayed far too weak, like he barely is interested in her, or ridiculously shy with his emotions and can’t do anything about them. If somewhere by the end he would have stood up for himself and/or the women, at least the viewer would be more interested in his character.
Too Many Bad Male Characters
Landon, mind you, is the only good male character portrayed in the movie. Every other male character is obnoxious, stupid, incompetent (the security guard), a technophile, would-be rapist, or worse.
The Ending is Rushed — and reminscent of Skulls
Secret societies on college campuses may not be original, but do have a good opportunity for a horrific presence. This idea is hinted at once and then goes all out in the ending, but this movie could have been better to explore this plot in more depth rather than trying to make this some kind of shocking reveal. Maybe it follows one of the frat boys getting turned and how he’s really is a good, likable man (shocking, I know), but turned by the evil?
Here’s a shocking twist that would have made it cool: instead of the evil spirit being the founder of the university, how about his wife’s rage? That would have fit the revenge theme of the movie and yet turned on the head that evil doesn’t only exist in men.
Unfortunately, it all comes off as too rushed and not completely formed. There wasn’t enough setup to justify the wild changing plotline. However, it doesn’t stop it from being an interesting direction and is one of the main reasons why I barely recommended this. Because I saw effort by the film makers to do something creative, rather than just preach and prim like Charlie’s Angels (2019).
I mean, when it went all women going into fighting mode, this was interesting, but so different from the rest of the movie that it didn’t fit right.
Regardless of the many negative reviews, this movie had potential and wasn’t all terrible (there have been way worse movies released in 2019). It suffers most from using the name of a movie that was drastically different and better. This should have had a different title, maybe going for a Skulls like story but told from the women who were involved with the men. Seeing their men change by the Hawthorne evil presence.
Another important point is that the creative people behind this movie are horror fans. They weren’t just going through the motions to grind some agenda axe, they believe in the genre. It might be missing in the dialogue and the story is broken, but they clearly tried to make a good movie telling an entertaining story.
Sadly, it’s just all weighted down by a jumbled story – perhaps too complex – with not enough emphasis on making a scary movie. Not that horror can’t be more complex, but this one maybe put a few too many ingredients in the stew and some of them weren’t cooked.
Reviews by Others
Let’s see, so far, what other moviegoers think of Black Christmas (2019).
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs. Yes, even those who disagree with my reviews and vice versa.
- EYG / Embrace Your Geek: “In the end, I walked out of the theater with the mindset that it was better than I expected and so, I will give it the slight recommendation. And if you can go into Black Christmas without seeing the trailer, do it.”
- Signal Horizon: ” Overall, Black Christmas is not without some effective scares, and its primary story about surviving sexual assault is especially relevant as the effects of the #MeToo Movement and Brett Kavanaugh hearings still loom so large in our culture. Furthermore, it does a fine job capturing the current debates occurring on college campuses.”
- The Grump of Horror (3.5/5): “This Black Christmas is, I think, the first Blumhouse horror to be released directed by a woman. It’s a terrific, fun film, one that has a strong feminist point of view that will go over very well with the female audience members. I really hope it does with the male ones too.”
- Vague Visages: “…despite the earnestness of its admonishment of entitled patriarchy (Takal, rather brilliantly, has claimed that she drew on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings), never takes itself too seriously. Like many genre exercises, the characters function with a level of self-awareness that flirts with metanarrative.”
Not Recommended (or unclear/undecided)
- But Why Tho (5/10): “While the film may work for those not well-versed in horror history or just genuinely new audiences, it would have served better severing ties with the existing horror film. Regardless of how much I think this could have been an original story, the empty callbacks to the 1974 film made it a challenge I couldn’t overcome.”
- Christine Johnson / Runpee: “I’m being generous, giving it a C- purely for the fact that I loved the sets.”
- Cinema Spotlight / Jason (2/5): “Even if you ignore the social commentary the horror elements are as cliché as they get and fail to really offer anything in the way of thrills or excitement. I think I’ll stick with the original film which still remains the superior version by every measure.”
- Doug Jamieson (2/5): “…has the absolute best of intentions at heart and it must be commended for seeking to highlight an incredibly serious and relevant societal issue. But, for all its earnest agenda-pushing, it fails to truly leave any impact.”
- Grim D. Reaper (0/4): “A deliberate body count is pointless if no one knows who did it or especially why, and if there was any greater plan going forward, why call attention to it with a between-semester culling guaranteed to shut the school and your hunting ground down? Failing on every story level, Black Christmas is one of the worst films of the year… again.”
- Halloween Year Round: “…the concept of fraternity pledges being possessed to kill is just absurd and interesting enough to make for a decent slasher film. It’s a shame because in areas like this, the film has a lot of potential. But it really gets bogged down in its own morals and messages.”
- Movie Babbles: “Sexual assault is a horrific thing that has been exposed as something that is present in and affects many aspects of American life. A great horror film could be made that forces a viewer to reckon with this deeply ugly truth. Black Christmas is not that film.”
- Movie Meister Reviews (1.5/5): ” just boring and is another film to put on the list of examples we can give when we scream “Stop remaking early slasher films unless you’re sure you can do something better than the original people did”. Shame, I wanted to like this one.”
- Society Reviews: “Not only am I giving this a 0/5 but I’m retroactively giving the 2006 version a 1.5/5 because at least that movie didn’t act like they wanted me dead as they were boring the ever-loving crap out of me.”
- What Went Wrong (1/10: “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.”
Let’s discuss what you think of Black Christmas in the comments.