21 June 2008 | Jonny_Numb
"I'm not dreaming of a Black Christmas..."
Some movies are very confident in their ability to do many things right, thus ensuring an intriguing experience. A movie like "Black Christmas," however, is mostly confident in its ability to do many things wrong, yet still remain watchable on some bizarre level. Needless to say, it's an overhaul of the seminal 1974 slasher of the same name, in which a lonely sorority house is besieged by a killer making obscene phone-calls from the attic over the holidays. The 2006 version takes this premise and attempts to build a backstory around murderer Billy Lentz, who remained a shadowy specter throughout Bob Clark's film. I have to give writer-director Glen Morgan credit: while this bit of character development is wildly uneven (including giving Billy a sister-in-madness), it is consistent with the wildly inconsistent rest of the film. Morgan brought a strong sense of macabre humor and visual style (I dare call it "Burtonesuqe") to his exceptional remake of "Willard" (helped by Crispin Glover's delightfully wacky performance), but his stylistic leanings are simply the wrong match for a "Black Christmas" remake. There is not a single suspenseful scene to be found, and the violence is so exaggerated that it defuses any horrific effect (seriously, a killer who eats eyeballs?); additionally, the characters are so ill-defined that it's hard to keep track of who's who (had the number of girls been whittled down the point where they had actual personalities, we might have actually given a damn about them). And, for a slasher film coming in the wake of "Scream" and its kindred, "Black Christmas" just shows a general lack of common sense when an obvious threat is lurking (can you really feel sorry for a security guard who lingers in a maniac's room long enough to get knocked off?). But in an odd way, "Black Christmas" avoids the oblivion of crappy horror remakes due to Morgan's impassioned, assured sense of visual stylethat being said, it's nowhere near as good as its predecessor.
4.5 out of 10