(Review originally written at 12 August 2008)

OK so, this was bad. Really bad! The movie features cheap scares, uninteresting characters, ineffective directing...and a killer with a liver decease. Especially when you compare this movie to the 1974 original, this movie is an extremely bad and disappointing one.

The movie really makes a big mistake by making the movie halve set in 'present' time, while the other story is told in flashback-mode, telling Billy's back-story.

But no, seriously this isn't the movie its biggest issue. Thing just is that this movie has totally no suspense, which is mostly due to the very poor directing and storytelling of the already weak and simplistic story, in which nothing comes as a surprises and everything progresses in a very formulaic and predictable manner. Glen Morgan is obviously a very inexperienced director and lets hope he'll stop directing movies like this. Also his writing is obviously lacking. He wrote the screenplay for this movie, which he loosely based on the Roy Moore 1974 screenplay of the original "Black Christmas" movie, directed by Bob Clark. I say loosely, because basically all he uses from the 1974 screenplay is the concept of having a killer killing off girls in a sorority house on Christmas eve. The story features some really poor and lame written elements, that you just don't learn in film-school.

Yes, so it's still a remake of the 1974 horror movie with the same title but there are lots of differences. These differences and changes are not for the good however. In this movie we for instance already know who the killer is from the firs moment on and what his motivations are (it gets overly explained in the movie why he is so messed up and how messed up he is, by giving him a back-story) and it's also (unintentional) pretty clear on from the beginning who is the second killer of the movie, while in the remake this was all still a big mystery. The fact that this all gets revealed so early on in the movie already takes away lots of the tension and mystery of the movie. It was a big mistake to show so much of the movie its killers. On top of that the movie gave them a monstrous look, which is of course just plain ridicules.

The movie its scares are very cheap as if they thought that the character's reactions to the situations would make the sequences look scary enough. For instance during the phone calls; the characters are totally panicking and looking scared by it, while it are just odd sounding phone calls that are not scary sounding but instead more like a prank call from the 9-year neighbor boy. They tried to let the movie look more 'horror' like by inserting lots of gore but really no, it doesn't work out.

The movie feels just like an excuses to kill of as many characters as possible in one movie. All of the kills just feel pointless and they follow each other too fast. Basically every 15 minutes another character dies but you just stop caring about it after a while. It really doesn't make the movie exciting to watch and on top of that of course also makes it all quite predictable. You basically know who is going to die when, as the sequences get build up. It also doesn't help much that you simply can not care about any of the characters. Most of the characters are all the same and the actresses and actors are not exactly future Oscar winners either.

The story is almost entirely set at one location and it cuts right to the chase, so to speak. It doesn't spend any time on proper development and the viewer gets bombarded with kills, gore and monstrous looking killers, without just caring much about any of it.

And seriously what was with the musical score? What an incredibly weak and simplistic sounding horror score. A shame that this had to be composer Shirley Walker's last score. She unexpectedly died before this movie its release. Perhaps she also wasn't 100% finished and satisfied yet with the score herself but they had to use it in the movie anyway?

Please, just watch the original 1974 "Black Christmas" movie instead.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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