The holiday horror is very difficult to get right, which is why very few try it and especially why we’re getting another version of “Black Christmas”. The latest take has some interesting twists and turns but is ultimately very decisive of what it wants to be.
Riley (Imogen Poots) is preparing for a quiet Christmas on her college campus with the other “orphans” in her sorority with no family to go home to. When a slasher begins knocking off her sorority sisters, she has to unravel an ancient mystery to discover what is the true evil force behind killings.
The positive aspects of the film is that it’s definitely not boring. We’ll get to that later. Director Sophia Takal does use some creative shots to try to create some tension and there is a part of the film where it’s genuinely unpredictable. There is also an admirable spotlight shined on the dangers of date rape on college campuses.
It’s main problem is that “Black Christmas” just isn’t very scary.
Perhaps its the PG-13 rating to try to lure in a younger audience, but I was never really worried nervous for the entirety of the film. Yes, I wanted to see how it ended but I wasn’t invested. Many of the characters were hard to like and there is a twist down the homestretch that is bound to divide audiences.
All in all, it’s a film with something to say, it just has little interest in trying to cement it’s legacy as a frightening holiday slasher.
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes.