BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019)
Remake, or re-imagining takes place on a college campus at Christmas break. The MKE sorority girls put on a controversial Christmas show at the DKO fraternity, calling out an alumnus for his rape of sorority member Riley (Imogen Poots). Soon the ladies of MKE and other sororities, start to fall one by one, as a group of hooded and masked killers stalk them across campus.
Flick is directed by Sophia Takal from her script, co-written by April Wolfe. In the age of #MeToo the film faces the issue of sexual abuses on college campuses head on, as well as the disbelief and stigma that falls on the accuser instead of the accused. In this aspect, the film achieves its goals. It’s so busy with its messages, though, that it almost forgets to be a horror film. It takes almost an hour for the flick to really get going and the kills are mostly offscreen, muting their impact. Aside from being set in a sorority and a few scattered elements, it doesn’t really follow the 1974 original, or the previous 2006 remake. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t really do too much new with the stalker premise, either. On a horror film level, it’s derivative, despite adding a supernatural element to its story not present in the other versions. Its climax is a bit overblown and it’s at that point where the film’s message starts to become sledgehammered, when the flick already made it’s point so well in the first half. Also, if there is a supernatural element controlling certain individuals, are they really to blame for their actions and deserved of their fates? Wouldn’t it have served the story’s point better if they were simply misogynist a-holes and not in a black magic thrall? The cast are fine, especially Poots as the emotionally wounded Riley. Veteran actor Cary Elwes, as a douchey professor, does overdo it a bit. He practically has a neon sign saying “bad guy” floating over his head the entire movie. There are some nice nods to the original like the address of a sorority being “1974”, the year the first Black Christmas was released, and it does have a few intense moments. Overall, It’s a film that delivers its messages, sometimes with a heavy hand, but boldly straight on. Unfortunately, though, it skimps somewhat on being an actual horror flick.