Black Christmas (2006)

Deck the halls with... plucked-out eyeballs? Well, it's certainly different. Sadly, the killer's interior design ideas are pretty much the only original thing about this movie; which is only to be expected, really, since it's a remake. Not only is Black Christmas a remake, but it's a slasher movie, so everybody already knows exactly what's going to happen. Twentyish years ago, Christmas-loving crazy Billy Lenz killed his entire incestuous, abusive family; now the house is full of nubile young females, and he's back to wreck havoc all over again.

Well, sort of.

Black Christmas is absolutely jam-packed with Final Destination alumni. The writer-director, Glen Morgan, wrote and produced both Final Destination and Final Destination 3, and various cast-members starred in one or other of those movies. Several Final Destination style moments creep into the movie -- most obviously a carelessly dropped carton of milk that props open a door -- and the overall feel of the movie, low-budget but damned slick with it, is very similar. If the plot had been kept straightforward and simple, Black Christmas probably could have been a triumph. Instead, despite its style and humour, it's ultimately rather a mess.

See, instead of it being the escaped lunatic stalking the girls, it's actually his incestuous sister/daughter. Quite why she decided to go on the rampage this Christmas, coincidentally the exact same one that her brother finally managed to make his escape during, is impossible to tell; but this plot 'twist' really isn't a twist, since the killings start before the legendary murderer makes his escape. Obviously the audience isn't supposed to question anything -- Billy is rejected by his mother because of some bizarre birth defect that turns his skin yellow, not that that has any bearing on anything. The elder sister of one of the soon-to-be-slaughtered sorority girls turns up for no apparent reason. The house in the flashbacks to the original killings is supposed to be the same house as the present day one -- except the Lenz family seem to be impoverished, so how could they afford a house that size? And why is a sorority house so entirely cut off from civilisation -- shouldn't it be near a university of some description?

There are any number of lapses in logic that are so frustrating that it's almost impossible to just sit back and enjoy the eyeball-ripping gore (we're not talking Hostel here; it's rubber and ketchup all the way). None of the girls has any sort of personality to distinguish her from any of the others, which is bizarre because they're almost all recognisable faces, and I'd like to credit them with a little more acting ability than they're allowed to showcase here. Instead, they all just seem mildly uncomfortable.

It really is a shame, because this movie had the potential to be great. Superficially, it's very similar to See No Evil, which also features an abused child-turned-killer returning to his old haunt to harvest eyeballs; but at almost every point where See No Evil worked, Black Christmas doesn't.

Possibly the funniest thing that will be written about this movie already has been -- it's the movie poster quote, "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart -- now I want your eyeballs" by one Mr Alan Jones. Alan does have a tendency to love movies I hate, and on this occasion, that's one quote that really deserved to be attached to a far better movie.

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