Friday, December 13, 2019

Review: Black Christmas

Release date: December 13, 2019
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue

A group of sorority sisters staying at school for the holidays suddenly find themselves being stalked by a masked stranger with a taste for blood.  The killer starts by taunting them on social media, and then appears out of nowhere for the final kill.  Do these ladies give in or band together and fight back?

The movie has a refreshingly different and diverse all female main cast.  The women are all in the same sorority but have very different motivations and backgrounds.  The main character, Riley (Poots) is dealing with a horrific event in her past that adds some depth to her character.  Her main sisters Kris (Shannon)--a fiery revolutionary that is raging against the patriarchy--and Marty (Donoghue)--a quieter but equally supportive friend--help her to confront this event and move past it.  The ladies have a good chemistry and I liked how different and supportive they were of each other.  The film also has an old school style, with a grainy camera, long camera shots, and a gothic setting.  I think this was a nod to the fact that this is a remake of a remake of a 1974 movie, but in any event it was really fun to see at the start.  And the suspense of the film as the killer is stalking his victims is palatable.  The movie does a great job with making the audience stay at the edge of their seat longer than you would expect, making them wait for the inevitable jump scare and holiday-inspired kill.  All of these positives really help to stay in the holiday horror spirit.

However, although the plot at the beginning of the film is entertaining and suspenseful, the movie goes off the rails after the reveal.  I'm all for weird horror plots, but this seemed to notch up the crazy to a new level.  And for a movie with such a diverse, strong female cast, the male cast is definitely lacking in it.  Although there are a few outliers, the vast majority of male members in the film all look the same and have the same motivations; at times I struggled to even tell one from the other.  And the few males that were different tended to disappear as the movie progressed.  I really liked Landon (Caleb Eberhardt) and wanted to learn more about his character, but he just popped in occasionally and had a very minor role.  And although the dialog of the film was interesting at times, it also could be corny and a little too dramatic; some of the more intense scenes in the film caused me to chuckle due to this, which hurt the impact of those parts.  However, despite these issues, Black Christmas is still a refreshingly different holiday horror film that maybe should be enjoyed at home.

Black Christmas is a refreshingly different holiday horror film with a diverse all-female cast, a ton of tension, and an old school style that will keep you in the holiday horror spirit.    

Rent It

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