Black Christmas (2006)

This holiday season, the slay ride begins.
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Black Christmas (2006 Remake) - This holiday season, the slay ride begins.

The recent influx of horror remakes has led to a large number of disappointing horror experiences (mostly scanty J-Horror remakes). Director Glen Morgan (most renowned in the slasher world for his production and writing skills on Final Destination and Final Destination 3) has interrupted this trend of disappointments with his praiseworthy remake of 1974's slasher Black Christmas. Unlike many remake directors Mr Morgan does not completely miss the point of the original story but gives it an updated feel that slots in nicely with the more reputable slashers of the current era. Obviously the Black Christmas remake can never have the impact of the original with its radical concepts that helped pave the way for the whole slasher genre and with that notoriety in mind it highlights what a brave venture remaking the original slasher is.

Once upon a time in on a snowy wintery Christmas Eve in Alpha Kappa Gamma sorority house the residents are gearing up for the Christmas holidays in typical girly student ways, but Alpha Kappa Gamma house has an ominous history. Once the house belonged to the Simpson-skinned, jaundice stricken Billy Lenz, his compassionate but weak father and his alcoholic hate filled mother. Billy was made to live in the attic after witnessing his mother and her clandestine lover kill his father and bury his corpse under the house. Billy's life gets further complicated when one night his alcohol-stupefied mother ascertains that her lover is not up to the job of making her "feel like a woman" and pops up to the attic for a bit of yellow love. Too hung-over to make use of morning-after contraception, rapist-mum falls pregnant and nine months later Billy's mother gives birth to her dirty little secret Agnes. As Agnes get's older socially deprived Billy becomes jealous and leaves the confines of the attic to pull out his little sister-slash-daughter's eye, stab his stepfather in the face and beat his mother to death. The police arrive at the scene of the domestic disturbance to witness Billy eating Christmas cookies made of mother and quite wisely confine him to a mental institution whilst sending his one-eyed sibling-offspring to an orphanage.

Meanwhile back in the present day the girls of Alpha Kappa Gamma are not having their holiday plans go as intended. Tormented by perplexingly disturbing phone calls from house member cell phones and not entirely convinced that those who have left the house have managed to get far, the girls discover that someone or something is butchering the sorority members one by one. It is a AKG house tradition to leave Billy a present for Christmas and this year he has decided to claim it... but he's brought a friend and the girls must survive until the police can make an appearance through the blizzardous conditions.

The typical slasherism of the unfortunate sorority girls' situation and the story's history is astutely combined by way of flashbacks into Billy's past; it is obvious at the beginning that Billy is the antagonist returning to his home for some reason only obvious to someone who has lived in an attic and a mental home. Black Christmas abides by the standard slasher formula but when you consider that the original created the formula the remake can be forgiven for sticking to the plan and must be admired for staying true to the original concept whilst turning it into a more traditional modern stalk and slash. The gore has been upped a notch as the shocks and scares from the original would fail to seem so disquieting in today's more desensitized society, and with a star studded cast of familiar scream queens such as Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Crystal Lowe and Michelle Trachtenberg the movie cannot fail to impress the next generation of slasher fans. Glen Morgan's method is noticeable with Final Destination like character development and suspense build up before the slashing commences allowing those who do not remember the original to appreciate the entertainment provided. Black Christmas is a breath of fresh air amongst horror remakes and can hold its own as a modern slasher for that palpable minority that are unaware of the existence of the influential original that this is based upon.
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Categories: Slasher Movies
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