If there was anything I was thinking this year, “gee, I wish Blumhouse would do a new Black Christmas remake” was NOT it. But apparently what I want doesn’t matter.
Director: Sophia Takal
Starring: Imogen Poots, Cary Elwes, Aleyse Shannon
Co-written with Nathan.
Essentially, what this is is a bad Twitter argument about rape culture that they spent thousands turning into a movie. It’s really got no interesting insights, and the story is a bunch of crap where all the characters are barely characters so much as mouthpieces spewing all the worst arguments you’ve tuned out online this year. So why is it called Black Christmas? Well, it’s got a sorority house and a killer! That’s enough, right?
They start off with this plot about the main girl Riley, who is still traumatized after a sexual assault by some piece of shit frat guy. I am sure this very serious subject will be handled with exquisite care by this teen slasher movie they’ve created, but then, I am very stupid.
The dialogue is entirely comprised of lines where other characters talk about how much they want to remove the statue of the old racist, sexist slave-owner guy who the school is named after. Oh, and Cary Elwes is a literature professor delivering a big screed about how women are bad and need to submit to men. Then later they talk about how they hate his class because he doesn’t teach any works by women or gay people.
See what I mean? It’s like they just ripped some of the headlines off Twitter. Every fucking line in the movie is like this. If they had anything interesting to say, it’d be one thing. But it comes off like they were just like “we don’t have any ideas… QUICK! TO TWITTER! COPY AND PASTE ALL THE NEWS HEADLINES FROM BREITBART FOR THE VILLAINS’ DIALOGUE!”
Riley does see the frat dudes undergoing what looks like a satanic ritual with red cloaks and a bleeding black-blood statue and all kinds of shit. It’s even in a creepy stone chamber. I’m amazed that nobody sees her, but I guess the frat-bro magic prevents them from even seeing women. Their dick energy is just so powerful that anything else is invisible to them!
You never learned the identity of the killer in the first one and it was one of the better things about it, how fucking eerie it was. In this one, Nathan and I were just like “oh, the frat boys are the killers.” 10 minutes in, and we were right. It’s honestly barely even a spoiler. Scooby Doo would be disappointed in how easy it was to figure this out.
They do this routine on stage basically calling out the frat guys for being rapey pieces of shit. It goes better than anticipated as they get out of there just fine with no altercations. Even the text messages they get are only from the killers threatening them, which, you know, is a given in a slasher movie. These text messages, by the way, are the movie’s replacement for the deranged phone calls from the 1974 original, where the killer constantly made vile threats in voices that would make Regan from The Exorcist blush. In this one, you only get one instance of the creepy voices, and it turns out to be a glitch on an otherwise normal phone call. So lame!
The text messages are just goofy shit. It’s hardly even threatening at all – they read like an incel Batman villain or some shit, just trying way too hard to seem creepy. Boy, so glad it’s not like real life where people get harassed with much more violent, awful language and even real life threats, until they literally leave social media and have to hire bodyguards! It’s all peachy in this movie’s universe.
There’s a scene with Cary Elwes where he threatens Riley to quit speaking out about rape. She manages to accidentally see a piece of paper he’s carrying with the names of a bunch of girls on it. It’s literally right there! These guys are so fucking bad at keeping secrets that I bet when one of them cheats on their girlfriend, they just forward the texts to their girlfriend automatically. Personally I expected way more from a cult of frat bros who worship a statue that bleeds black blood.
One of the film’s worst parts is the big argument between the girls and the one boyfriend dude. Here are some of the lines spoken: “Not all men are rapists!” “DID YOU JUST ‘NOT ALL MEN’ ME???” It’s really like the dumbest, most infantile argument you’ve seen in the Facebook comments of a Jezebel article about Brett Kavanagh.
Speaking of Kavanagh, the script even fits in the line “I like beer” from the boyfriend character. If this was any less subtle, it would just be a scroll of HuffPo headlines across the screen.
The killers start coming after them with bows and arrows, wearing black cloaks and weird metal masks. At this point I was wondering if anyone involved knew what Black Christmas was – this is more like You’re Next, except it actually makes that movie look like Citizen Kane in comparison. But hey, they have Christmas lights in there!
The final battle takes place in the creepy stone-wall dungeon cult place, as Cary Elwes’ character delivers a big soliloquy about how white men are being oppressed and they need to take back the country from women. He goes on about how white men who agree with them will take seats in “Congress and boardrooms” and says women need to “stay in line.” It’s such a blatant, ridiculous speech that was obviously written as a huge dumb strawman. Even if you’re like me and agree that all these things Elwes’ character is saying are awful and noxious, this writing is just so garishly stupid. It’s like when you dislike someone and try to make them sound as dumb and ridiculous as possible when telling a story about them to your friends, using funny voices and exaggerating the things they said to make them seem much worse.
I don’t even get what their plan is. So they worship this guy from the 1800s who founded their school, who was worried that men would lose their place in society to women? Maybe that guy was just able to see the future. Either way they’re a bunch of misogynists so silly that it’s hard to take seriously. They seem to think they can “restore order” and, what, make women subservient to them? They’re all still in positions of power at this college. 'Women will be subservient to men' is probably gonna be a hard sell for the administrators when things get back to normal in January, buds.
Frankly, we were just waiting for these idiots to come out wearing MAGA hats. But never fear, because the entire gang of sorority girls bust in and kick their asses! It makes that one scene in Avengers Endgame look like a subtle, restrained, literary feminist statement, but on the plus side, the movie is over.
The problem is that the writing is just so fucking bad in this. It’s so one-dimensional that it’s an insult to other very flat things. The characters aren’t characters, so much as they are mouthpieces for either side of an ideology. In the movie’s world, the frat bros are nothing but evil, scratches off Satan’s pube hair, and the girls can do no wrong and basically have zero flaws. It’s just dull, black-and-white shit. I don’t need them to put in sympathetic side to the frat bros, but they sure don’t act like anything but cartoon characters, as it is. And if it’s a cartoon, well, I rarely take cartoons that seriously.
I’d love it if this were an actual good feminist movie – I’m not writing this review to bash feminism or “defend the rights of men” or whatever the Reddit trolls would say. I think that’s actually the worst part of this. The writing is so bad that it involuntarily puts me in the same camp as those alt-right internet douchenozzles who will just hate this because a woman has more than two lines spoken. So, thanks a lot for that one, movie!
PS - The original 1974 film included a plot where the lead woman character was considering an abortion, and it was more interesting and daring than anything this movie tries. Pretty sad!
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