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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Review: Black Christmas (2019)

Director: Sophia Takal
Screenplay: Sophia Takal y April Wolfe
Year: 2019

After the huge backlash that "Black Christmas" received when a few days before its release they decided to edit it to change its classification from R to PG-13, its release generated more doubts than expectation. The trailer didn't do much to change this opinion and that it was marketed as a remake of a horror classic that didn't do any favors. The worst part of this is that "Black Christmas" not only confirmed the public's theory that it would be a bad movie, but it is worse than expected.

A group of young college girls decides to stay during the holiday period in their sorority in their college campus. An unknown person starts chasing and killing them one by one. The young women start trying to figure out who is responsible for these attacks and they show that they are willing to fight back against their stalker.

“Black Christmas” starts with a scene where it establishes that it will follow a slasher style. Without exploiting its potential, this scene is effective in putting the audience in perspective and also in suggesting that it will push to the limit its classification. After this scene, we get to know the group of protagonists in some sequences that makes it way too evident the type of audience they were targeting but do it in a forceful way and it is hard to find realism in the plot or identifying with any of the protagonists.

If the initial scene managed to create any sort of expectations in the audience, the following scenes are sure to take them off in an amalgam of cringe-worthy dialogue and soulless cinematography. The script that the also director Sophia Takal (“New Year, New You”) co-writes together with April Wolfe is nothing more than an excuse to add as many feminist puns as possible that does little in trying to tell a story and has no effect in creating suspense. The cinematography doesn't help the predictable script, unable to create disturbing images and with a flat aesthetics, far from the atmosphere that other movies have been able to create using the Christmas period as in “I Trapped The Devil”, where the tension dominates with colorful lights in the background.

The acting side it's hard to analyze because of the nefarious work in the script and direction. The characters are continuously found in hard to believe situations, are annoying, and respond to cultural stereotypes and horror tropes. The protagonist Riley, interpreted by Imogen Poots ("Green Room") is manageable, but her friend Kris, interpreted by Aleyse Shannon ("Instinct") is insufferable and this seems more like a character construction issue rather than an acting one.

It’s evident that “Black Christmas” tried to get into the #MeToo Movement wave focusing its plot with topics of sexual abuse against women and empowerment, but while these topics should be brought up more in cinema, it does it in a disgraceful way. Instead of delivering am empowered and feminist message, it ends up delivering a misandrist one. All in all, to see a good movie about female empowerment and that is also a good reboot of a classic, it would be better to watch Jamie Lee Curtis in the 2018 version of “Halloween”. 

“Black Christmas” promises to be a remake of a classic horror movie but instead is a product that has little to do with the original and only uses its name as a marketing strategy. It tries to deliver a feminist and female empowerment message through a defective script and flat visuals that make it a predictable and boring movie that resembles more a drama than horror and that ends up resenting the change in classification. Simply, one of the worst of the year.

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