Black Christmas (2019)

black christmas poster 2019 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Doesn't take the easy path of a remake

The movie has the right ideas but poor execution

Movie Info

Movie Name: Black Christmas

Studio: Blumhouse Productions

Genre(s): Horror/Seasonal

Release Date(s): December 13, 2019

MPAA Rating: PG-13

black christmas sorority song

Gee, I hope our song doesn’t have any consequences

At Hawthorne College, the women of Mu Kappa Epsilon are out to get revenge on the Delta Kappa Omicrons for the rape of Riley Stone (Imogen Poots) by the DKO’s president Brian Huntley (Ryan McIntyre). After a searing skit, the MKE begin to discover that something is happening on campus. Members are getting strange texts from unknown numbers and they seem to be coming from someone at the school. Christmas break is coming and all hell is about to break loose on campus!

Directed by Sophia Takal (who also cowrote the screenplay with April Wolfe), Black Christmas is a holiday horror slasher movie. The Blumhouse movie is loosely based on the 1974 Canadian slasher film Black Christmas that previously remade in 2006. The movie received mixed reviews.

The original Black Christmas is considered a classic. It helped invent the slasher genre (it predated Halloween) and has its own followers. The 2006 movie was extremely forgettable and not very good. This Black Christmas falls somewhere in between the two films, but it is due to the fact that it seems like its own movie. Due to the content of the movie, a ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

black christmas killer

Hey…you’re not Billy…or Santa Claus

The story starts out on relatively familiar grounds with a stalker hunting the campus of the college. Since it is assumed that the film is a remake, you expect (and somewhat get) someone getting into the MKE sorority. The movie then flips and becomes an almost Stepford Wives type storyline with magic controlling the pledges (in the form of toxic masculinity) to attack women who “don’t know their place”. The social commentary aspect of the movie is the strongest part of this remake…but the way it is discussed and presented isn’t very good.

Imogen Poots is generally good in movies she’s in and this movie is no exception. She doesn’t feel like a traditional Hollywood star (she rarely uses her English accent it seems like) and she is slowly developing into a good lead actress. She anchors this movie though I also like Aleyse Shannon’s role as the voice of logic in most of the last sequence of the film. Cary Elwes plays a typical Cary Elwes role and Elwes feels like he’s falling into the “I’ll make any movie” role.

black christmas imogen poots killer

All I said was Dr. Doom called and wanted his costume back!

The film isn’t very graphic and the lack of a very inspired killer (or killers) doesn’t help. The original terror of Black Christmas was the idea that someone could be literally behind you in a place you felt safe. Here, the killers just break in all the sororities as part of their cult and wear a Doctor Doom type costume. It loses its fear appeal.  Being PG-13, it also lacks gore that might have picked up the limp plotlines.

Black Christmas almost works. I admire that it didn’t simply slap new actors into the pre-existing films roles and that it tried to make something new. Unfortunately, that rollout was sloppy and the end result didn’t feel like a real discourse on women’s rights or questions about higher education…it seemed like a light horror movie that didn’t push it far enough. It is a shame when a movie gets close and fails to get over the hump. Maybe next Christmas…

Related Links:

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas (2006)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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