Black Christmas (15)



Horror (2006)
84mins Can/US

Starring: Kate Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenburg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: Glen Morgan
Writer(s): Glen Morgan
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Remake of the 1974 horror film of the same name. Claire, Dana, Heather, Kelli, Lauren, Megan, Megan and Melissa live in the same sorority house, unaware that the property was the scene of a series of brutal murders. When the girls start receiving threatening telephone calls, they fall victim to the same killer from all those years ago, who intends to slay them all before the bells ring out on Christmas Day.

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LondonNet Film Review
Black Christmas

Writer-director Glen Morgan's remake of a cult 1974 horror thriller starring Margot Kidder - one of the first women in peril slasher flicks - has all of the gore of his Final Destination films but none of their intelligence, style or wit...

Black Christmas.  2006 Dimension Films. All Rights Reserved.The blood runneth over and eyeballs are plucked merrily from the sockets of the pretty cast members. When will these girls learn that if they hear a suspicious noise in the attic, the sensible course of action is to run for help, not venture alone into a cobweb-strewn crawl space where doom invariably lurks in the darkness? Venture they must and so it is the girls - glowing with youth and armed with acidic put-downs - who are soon being carved up for Christmas and not the turkey. Slain belles, if you will.

Morgan orchestrates a couple of squeal-out-loud shocks and his special effects team slavers on the viscera, cutting the ensemble down to size with furious abandon before the obligatory final showdown.

Black Christmas opens with a nightmarish flashback to 1975, in which young Billy Lenz (Cainan Wiebe) endures yet another hellish winter with his mother (Karin Konoval) and father (Peter Wilds). "The Russians shot his sleigh down. Santa Claus is dead!" cackles daddy dearest. The old man is butchered by his wife's lover (Howard Siegel) and Billy is consigned to the loft where he sits menacingly in a rocking chair, allowing the years of psychological abuse and mental torture to take their toll. Having wreaked bloody revenge on his family, Billy is incarcerated and the Lenz home becomes a sorority house.

Many years later, house mother Mrs Mac (Andrea Martin) encourages her girls to gather round the tree to exchange Christmas presents. Among the lovely ladies are Kelli (Katie Cassidy), whose boyfriend Kyle (Oliver Hudson) might be cheating on her, sensible Melissa (Michelle Trachtenberg), Heather (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Dana (Lacey Chabert) and the slightly tipsy Lauren (Crystal Lowe).

Gathering around the fir tree, the girls are shocked when they suddenly receive a series of threatening and abusive telephone calls. When it transpires that the calls are coming from inside the house, the friends fear they are about to fall victim to a deranged killer, who intends to massacre them before the bells ring out on Christmas Day.

Trapped in the house in the middle of a blizzard, the girls must rely on each other to survive the onslaught, aided by Leigh (Karin Cloke), sister of one of the missing-presumed-disembowelled students. Little do any of them realize that the now adult Billy Lenz (Robert Mann) has escaped his cell and is coming home for Christmas.

Black Christmas has an extremely sick and twisted sense of humour, including a rather unsavoury incident with a cookie cutter. Violence is unrelenting but there's little in the way of dramatic tension to underpin the carnage and the characters' aren't fleshed out enough to make them anything other than dead girls walking. Cassidy plays her feisty blonde with plenty of gumption - "We're sisters - so act like it!" - but her co-stars are almost interchangeable.

The finale strains credibility, not that the film has much to begin with, including the obligatory resurrection of the monster, whom everyone foolishly presumed to be dead.

- Sophie Abell

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