Black Christmas (2006)

Black Christmas WallpaperBlack Christmas (2006) Dimension Films/Horror RT: 94 minutes Unrated Version (language, strong bloody violence, nudity, sexual content, alcohol abuse) Director: Glen Morgan Screenplay: Glen Morgan Starring: Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kristen Cloke, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Andrea Martin, Crystal Lowe, Oliver Hudson, Karin Kovonol, Dean Friss, Robert Mann, Jessica Harmon, Leela Savasta, Kathleen Kole, Cainan Wiebe.

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Deck the halls with bowels and entrails, fa la la la la la la la la! That would be the appropriate holiday song for Black Christmas, a remake of the 1974 horror flick directed by Bob Clark (A Christmas Story). If you think that Silent Night, Deadly Night is over the top, wait until you get an eyeful of what's going on here! The girls of Delta Alpha Kappa are celebrating Christmas Eve in their sorority house, it's the same house where Billy Lenz butchered his entire family on Christmas Eve exactly 15 years ago. Billy's mother (Kovonal, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) hates him with a passion because of his birth defect, he has a rare condition that makes his skin yellow. One night, in 1975, she and her lover kill his father and bury the body underneath the house. Billy witnesses the murder and his mother locks him away in the attic for most of his life.

During that time, she drunkenly molests her son and gives birth to a baby girl nine months later. On Christmas Eve 1991, Billy escapes from the attic and goes on a killing spree, he stabs his stepfather to death and gouges out one of Agnes' eyes (that's the name of his sister/daughter). He beats his mother to death with a rolling pin then uses a Christmas cookie cutter to cut off large chunks of her flesh, which he bakes in the oven as if they were cookies. When the cops arrive (who called them?), they find Billy sitting in the kitchen dipping his cannibalistic Christmas cookie in milk and chewing away. He gets locked up in a mental institution and is supposed to spend the rest of his life there. Back to present day, the girls of Delta Alpha Kappa have a tradition of placing a gift for Billy under the tree every Christmas Eve. It's done in the spirit of fun, but Heather (Winstead, Death Proof) thinks it's sick and refuses to participate even though she drew Billy's name in their Secret Santa/Pollyanna. Clair (Savasta) is preparing to spend the holiday with her estranged older sister Leigh (Cloke, Final Destination). Kelli (Cassidy, Monte Carlo) has just returned to the house following a date with her boyfriend Kyle (Hudson, Rules of Engagement), he was previously involved with Megan (Harmon) and he videotaped them having sex, somebody put it on the Internet and she is positively mortified. The only thing that Lauren (Lowe, Final Destination 3) is interested in is getting really drunk. Dana (Chabert, Mean Girls) is preoccupied with texting on her cell phone. The house mother Ms. Mac (Martin, SCTV) tries to keep everybody's spirits high despite the blizzard outside. It's the perfect situation for another killing spree, right?

black-christmas-2006-movie-posterBy now, you have surely guessed that Billy (Mann) escapes from the maximum security hospital and plans to come home for Christmas. But wait a minute, there's somebody else lurking around the house, somebody who leaves a mysterious gift under the tree for the girls. Agnes survived the massacre and got placed in an orphanage, she disappeared shortly after she got released. Could she be hiding somewhere in the house? Perhaps in plain sight? One of the sorority sisters is Eve Agnew (Agnew, hmmm.....), a very strange girl with thick eye glasses, she gives everybody the creeps, but she's a legacy, so she's automatically a member of the sorority. Nobody knows anything about Eve so maybe.....or maybe not. The only thing that's clear to the girls is that there's a killer in the house and they have to get out of there. Unfortunately, the blizzard has pretty much snowed them in and the police wouldn't be able to reach their house for two hours. They're on their own and the killer keeps picking them off. One girl gets an ice skate buried in her face, another one is decapitated, one gets it with a fountain pen, several people gets their eyes gouged out. The girls find a Christmas tree in the attic decorated with eyeballs (Christmas balls) and intestines (tinsel garland), with a decapitated head (the star) on top. There's no two ways about it, this is one sick movie. But if you're a fan of splatter flicks (like me), then you'll probably enjoy Black Christmas. It's more of a throwback to the holiday themed slasher flicks of the early 80s (Halloween, Mothers' Day, My Bloody Valentine) than it is a direct remake of the original. It follows the same general story, but it throws in a lot of cool bloody effects. There's another element of terror in this movie as the killer keeps calling the soon-to-be victims from the cell phones of already-dead victims and threatening the girls while playing back pieces of conversations.

Okay, so it's not what you'd call an art film, but it works on its own terms, it's a mad slasher movie. I found the back story pretty interesting, it's great that writer/director Morgan took the time to tell Billy's story and explain his motives to the audience. The sorority sisters/victims are all quite attractive, but they're very one-dimensional, exactly like the victims in any other slasher flick. The plot isn't very original and it's not really that suspenseful, we can easily figure out who will live and who will die. We already know who's responsible for the murders. The whole thing about Agnes (where is she? who is she?) is somewhat interesting, but I think the seasoned viewer will already know the answers. Winstead, Lowe and Trachtenberg turn in decent performances in a movie where any actual acting ability isn't a prerequisite. No, Black Christmas exists for only one purpose, to gross out the teenagers with gruesome and imaginative killings. I have to admit that I liked the cannibalistic Christmas cookies, that's pretty original. The bloody tree decorations? Cool! There's another scene where Billy stabs somebody to death with a candy cane that he's sucked down to a sharp point. I hope this doesn't give the kids any ideas. The incest scene is pretty disturbing, it made my skin crawl, one look at eight-year-old Agnes and you know there's something strange about her, something's not quite right. Some people have complained that Black Christmas is very offensive, Christians groups had a real problem with a slasher movie about Christmas being released on Christmas Day. There's a simple solution to that problem......don't watch the movie! Where other people see a sick and disgusting piece of filth, I see an example of twisted holiday entertainment that could potentially be a gorehound's Christmas movie of choice. This could be "It's a Wonderful Life" for the splatter flick crowd. One thing's for sure, you'll never listen to "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (Tchaikovsky) in the same way again, ever!

 

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