Black Christmas 2019 Movie Review


Chris Stuckmann


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black Christmas was directed by Sophia to call and co-written by her an April wolf this film came out last December and I did actually get a chance to see it in theaters but I waited a while to review and I'll tell you why after I talk about the plot this is now the second remake of the original 1974 film the other came out in 2006 and this is a reimagining of that original film about a group of sorority sisters who on Christmas break discover an underground college conspiracy so I had a chance to see this film back on it was in theaters around Christmas time but I didn't review it until now because I noticed that when it first came out there was quite a bit of shall we say anger surrounding the movie a lot of reviews seemed really skewed a lot of people were just giving really vague reviews that didn't seem authentic like they were just upset because the movie is a very feminist film and I just didn't want to pile on to that I thought you know I'll just kind of back off and review this when some of that cools down and try to approach the film from a constructive perspective rather than being one of those people that piles on having said all that I hated this movie I think it's a horrific ly bad horror film and I think it's a really terrible remake this movie had a very rushed production it was announced in June 2019 that a black Christmas remake would be made by blum house and that's Sophia to call one of the directors of an episode of the hula show into the dark would be helming the film that was June the finished movie came out in December we're talking pre-production production and post that son heard of especially for a big movie from a big studio and when you watch the film you can definitely tell how rushed it was shots don't feel very planned they feel sort of in the moment happening like right in front of you without a lot of dictation about where things should go it seems like even the camerawork is mostly just handheld the whole time and there's not a lot of ingenuity to the way the movie looks the cinematography and the lighting is acceptable but the entire finished product feels like it was just rushed out into theatres as quick as possible now since this movie's been out for a while I'm actually gonna get into spoilers because I have so many things I want to talk about and these are things I don't usually like to talk about on my channel I just don't enjoy it there's so much hatred and anger out there for some of these topics and I don't like being part of that but this is what this movie is about and me discussing it it's unavoidable I've now seen this film twice once in theaters and then again on digital with a friend of mine because I wanted to have a refresher so I've paid for the movie twice I've seen it twice I took a bunch of notes before I get into the movies messages and it's themes I'd like to simply talk about it as a horror film first there are certain things that you expect to see in a horror movie especially one of this type that's a slasher technically or at least it is a reimagining of a slasher you expect to see some kills there should be some thrills some tension some suspense and you should feel worried about these characters there should be white-knuckle moments where you think they're going to die or where you feel as if they're in danger you should care about your characters at least somewhat as a horror fan and a film lover I don't need all my films to be the same I don't expect a final girl I don't expect every horror film to be rated R in fact I have adamantly talked about how that is not necessary to create a scary film in the past there are plenty of pg-13 movies like insidious or the American remake of the ring or signs that have scared me that's unnecessary in my opinion but in a film that's remaking black Christmas especially on the heels of the 2006 version which is fucking brutal by the way an extremely gory to have this film be pg-13 I thought was a mistake just about every scare sequence feels truncated by that rating you can tell they're editing around sequences that might include blood to maintain that rating there are scenes with missing information where they have cut a specific moment for the rating and you're not exactly sure what has happened to a character for all these reasons this movie feels very safe it feels very crowd friendly like they're trying to appeal to the widest broadest audience possible to be able to get as many young people in the theater as they can but it creates a disservice to their film because you don't need blood for a movie to be scary but you do need to understand what's happening to these characters you need to have some kind of notion of the danger or the threat and when you can't see anything that's happening or that has happened to a victim it takes all that away pushing the violence aside the films jump scares and scare tactics are so overused we've seen them a thousand times I'd be very surprised if anybody was surprised or startled by that you can you can see it coming a mile away and most of the scares in this movie are like that the hand on someone's shoulder that you can't see has been parodied so many times at this point there are moments throughout the 2019 black Christmas that I begin to think it's a satire I don't know how else to describe the complete incompetence on display when it comes to horror I don't know how else to describe this amount of money being put into a project that has nothing new to offer the horror genre and in what is perhaps the most blatant ripoff I've ever seen of a scare in a film there's an entire sequence that I guess they were trying to pay homage to Exorcist 3 which by the way I love and is extremely underrated if you've never seen it definitely check it out I'd love to review it one day there's a scene in this movie where a character is going in and out of some rooms looking for something and it plays out like this if you've ever seen the Exorcist three you probably remember what has since become the most iconic scare scene in that film there's a difference between homage and ripoff you can have something that reminds you of something you love that makes you smile that makes you excited about something that maybe you feel nostalgic for or you understand the filmmaker is in some way excited or nostalgic or or wants to tribute something in this case though it's just the scene redone in this film poorly what I'd also like to talk about this movie is the use of exposition and how it's delivered to characters to tell a story seriously he was into the dark arts and she already like killed disobedient women in ritual sacrifices to male pagan gods entire scenes are dictated not for character but for exposition for instance after the first big attack happens on our lead characters they run into a car and they drive away the only thing they talk about throughout the entirety of this scene is their theories they both suddenly start speculating about what could be happening and naturally they're very accurate oh those guys something crazy is going on yeah no shit a bunch of dudes just try to kill us no I mean I saw that guy before the night of the talent show ritual with the pledges it's a friend pledges pledge friends know this felt different it was like they were doing something with this black stuff that was coming out of the founders bust I you slow movie was like black magic or sorcery or something so you're telling me you think the dko boys possessed their pledges in some some supernatural hazing ritual pledges face you saw his blood I don't know what he was but he was changed he wasn't human tell me how think the bust gets brought into the founders fraternity Brian Huntley turns up to meet with the new pledges and then we all start getting these messages from a Calvin Hawthorne account Linsey goes missing Helena goes missing Marty and Jessi are dead thanks for the tip I mean all of this leads back to DK up I need you to help me I need you to create a distraction so that I can sneak into the room where they were holding the ceremony and get to the bust because that is where the power is coming from a magical bust no we're going to the cops what are we going to tell them I would like to remind you that we just killed three people who possessed or not are lying dead in our house right now so you're telling me that this is what's happening yes that's exactly actually what I'm saying did you hear me when I said that this is what's happening just in case you missed it stupid audience members this is what's happening right now this is the type of writing that I think is maybe the most offensive to me I don't like going to a movie and feeling like the writer director doesn't think I'm going to understand or thinks that I have to be spoon-fed I really wish that more writers would respect audience members and trust that they will understand things as they play out that just because you're making a film for a wide audience for a lot of people to come see it doesn't mean everyone is gonna see it's a fucking moron now that I got the way the dialogue is delivered aside and the failure of a horror film that I believe it to be I'd like to talk about the film's messages the themes what they're trying to communicate to the audience this is obviously a film that is fiercely feminist in every way so the lead character in the film is played by emo gene pool and we learned quickly that she was sexually assaulted in the past by another student on campus and the implication in the film is that she was drugged beforehand and this asshole just you know jokes about it thinks it's okay thinks it's normal she's had to deal this and it's traumatized her she'll see this guy around campus he makes disgusting looks towards her it's very bothersome it makes you angry it sort of makes you side with her early on she's pretty much the only character in the film that you can feel some sympathy for because you understand where she's coming from and you side with her because that's fucked up but everyone else in the movie is basically an asshole people just walk around and treat everybody like shit the women talk about the men poorly the men talk about the women poorly there's like two nice people in the movie you have the one male character in the entire film that isn't a complete douchebag there's another male character that's dating one of the leads and he's okay for a while until he gets so frustrated with the conversation that women are having about men what did you girls expect excuse me I told you something like this was gonna happen okay you show Milly ated those guys up there of course they pissed and that gives them an excuse to harass us if a bunch of frat bros had gotten up and sang a song about how I don't women were just bimbo she liked to show off their testing yeah you'd be livid it's a little different how why aren't you allowed to say all the shit about men and we're supposed to just sit here and take it because men have all the power not all men have powers just not only it's just not oh man Oh rapist Chris okay I'm not here just lumped me in with the bad ones because I'm a man nobody is calling you rapist fight with your men a man hating what did I say that was so offensive just calm down I'm trying to have a real calm down you want me to calm down let's calm down you just what would you do [Laughter] you serious I showed you that scene for a reason it's to hammer down a point this movie for the most part plays out like a long drawn-out Twitter feud everyone in this movie says social media buzz words constantly it feels as if it's written like people are talking on social media there is such a disconnect now between people who almost exist on social media and people who are existing in the real world while sometimes also posting on Facebook or Twitter that people begin to think that this is actually how people talk and interact in real life because you're so sucked into this social media world that now we have a film where every character talks as if they have a character limit to everything they say now that's understandable when you have like your basic Hollywood slasher the character is in Halloween for instance there nothing to write home about Laurie Strode is awesome because Halloween's awesome and Jamie Lee Curtis is awesome but as a character there's not much there but when you have a film that is going for so much more that is trying to say so much more that is trying to be important for a lot of people specifically women and young girls to have characters this dry and this bland is a giant mistake now the film opens with a murder sequence it takes quite a long time before we understand how this connects to the main story Jaws for instance opens with a murder we understand that more than likely the shark has taken this girl but quickly we are investigating this murder with chief Brody we are looking into this murder we're wondering what happened this film seems to have some sort of disconnect with its opening scene that doesn't really seem to add anything to the story except it suggests that there's some fucked up shit happening on campus but barely anyone's even talking about it or mentioning it it doesn't even feel like a murder or at least someone missing has occurred and when the film came out I saw plenty of people who were reviewing the film saying be quiet this isn't for you this is not for men I don't care what men have to say about this film this is a film for women I don't understand the notion of completely alienating an entire gender from a movie I think that if you want to have a message heard and if in your film the villains the people who are making it hard for that message to be heard are all men wouldn't you want men to relate to understand to feel empathy to feel some kind of connection where they could leave the theater and go I completely understand another reason I have a hard time relating to these characters is that for the majority of the film they do nothing but pity themselves it doesn't matter who the characters are in a movie if it's a children's animation and it's like at a zoo or something if the lead characters do nothing but talk about how their life sucks for the entire film it's going to get annoying it's very difficult to want to continue to root for people like that because you would like to see them attempt to get out of these situations and finally within the last five minutes they do so let's talk about what's really going on at this college who's responsible for all of these murders the strange text messages that Reilly the lead character is receiving early on in the film we meet Cary Elwes he's playing a professor who is teaching some things that students are feeling uncomfortable about there's a petition going around to get him fired from his job as it turns out he is also the leader of this long-standing cult of men at this college who used black magic to give themselves supernatural powers and their entire goal is to basically take back the throne and eventually go into the courts and display dominance over women and we learn all of this because the bad guy decides to give an epic speech in which he explains his evil plan to the lead character while she's tied up does he do this with all of his victims or just our lead character so that we can understand what's happening you see when your friend miss Watterson had the founders statue removed and brought here the boys discovered something magical hidden inside towards the end of his life Hawthorne force or the threat posed by women what so he took precautions in case they strayed too far out of your way a master of the dark hearts he left instructions on how to create an army of young men to take our power back your holy say no no not insane mister simply men were tired of seeing ourselves falsely accused our livelihoods threatened marginalized and belittled reduced to spectators in our own lives what upon graduation our army will venture into courtrooms boardrooms and the halls of Congress to set the world right I can't believe in this movie the bad guy actually explains his evil plan this is like some 1980s Mystery Science Theater 3000 shit this is satire it's gotta fuckin be if it's not this is truly fuckin embarrassing but after loathing their existence for the entire film the characters finally stand up for themselves and an Avengers slow-motion action sequence breaks out where they're all fighting with bow and arrows and Riley takes the bust of the professor that founded this college destroys it and I guess that ends the black magic they all run out of the building and everyone in it burns alive and the film just instantly ends now what do you think is gonna happen do you think that they're just gonna walk off into the sunset with this College burning to the ground with tons of bodies inside of it I feel like it would have been easier if they had just gone to the police before and said look some real shits going on you can't ignore this but now they have to not only explain that but also the burnt down College with all of the dead bodies so let's backtrack a minute and look at exactly what this ending is telling us it's already been made abundantly clear that these guys in this cult have been possessed by some kind of black magic black liquid that's coming out of the founders bust earlier in the film Riley witnessed one student trying to join the fraternity have to go through a hazing ritual that ended up being that student being possessed by said black magic meaning that this guy has no idea what's going on thinks he's just joining a fraternity and is also being preyed upon by the higher-ups at d.ko now it's obvious that Cary Elwes character and some of the men in this cult are no good and I wouldn't cry tear if they all burned alive at the end of a fictional movie but that's not what happens here after the black magic curse is lifted and they all are fully conscious of their surroundings and know exactly what's happening and are no longer possessed by this evil they all burn alive and the writers have also showed us that humanity is restored to the people when the curse is lifted because the one nice male character in the film that has a crush on Riley and Riley has a crush on him is saved and he's there with the girls as they watch the college and all of the men inside of it burned down I'd be curious to know how many of these students that are currently burning alive at the end of this movie even knew what they were doing how many of them had free will or control over their actions or their mind so the message here is really clear to me just burn it all down I don't see how this is an ending for any of these characters I think this movie fails completely as a horror film I was never scared once I never felt anything for the characters the action was incomprehensible you could hardly tell exactly what was happening it was so edited down you barely got a sense of what was really going on in those scenes in fact and the scares were like non-existent some of the cheapest most overused scares you've seen in horror but as a film with a message you can't miss it it's as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face it really wants you to hear everything they have to say it's like a social media post that's being sponsored and bumped up so everyone on Twitter or Facebook can see it I don't understand what happened with this movie I think as remake it's possibly offensive like it's basically just taking the name of a cult classic horror movie and slapping it onto a different story entirely it'd be like remaking Halloween but just having it be like some guy I'm gonna give black Christmas an F there's no easy way for me to sit here and review this movie constructively because I know that there are so many defenses that can be thrown at me for this review it's not made for me I'm a man so it doesn't count again not made for me I didn't understand it I must be sexist or misogynist or a lot of other things that just aren't fucking true but I feel like that is some kind of shield that is put up around entertainment like this that's not fair every thing that's made in the entertainment world is open to constructive criticism it doesn't matter who made it it's an art piece and it's open to that and I feel like I was way nicer and way more fair than a lot of the reviews I've read so I wouldn't really recommend seeing this movie especially if you're a fan of the first film I would recommend that first film and you know what the 2006 version gets a lot of hate I don't really understand why it is kind of unnecessarily mean-spirited but it's a really well-made horror film it's surprisingly not that bad I would recommend checking that out sometime guys thank you so much as always for watching look forward to more reviews very soon and if you like this you can click 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