Black Christmas (2006) - Unrated Edition

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Dimension || Unrated - 95 minutes - $29.95 || April 3, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-04-04


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Glen Morgan
Writer(s): Roy Moore (1979 screenplay); Glen Morgan (screenplay)
Cast: Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kristen Cloke, Crystal Lowe, Lacey Chabert, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Hudson


Theatrical Release Date: December 26, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Endings
  • "What Have You Done?: The Remaking of Black Christmas"
  • "May All Your Christmases Be Black", A Filmmaker's Journey


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot: A group of sorority sisters, snowed in over the holiday break, tries desperately to survive the night as a relentless killer terrorizes and murders them, one by one.

Black Christmas is a remake of the 1974 cult classic that spawned the slew of horror flicks like Halloween and When a Stranger Calls (both of which will be or already have been remade). I’ve never seen the original so I can only speak for this remake, and while this isn’t a great movie, it does contain a few thrills. The movie also features some cute young actresses including Katie Cassidy (When a Stranger Calls), Michelle Trachtenberg (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Final Destination 3) and Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls). It’s unfortunate their characters have little to do except run and scream.

SPOILERS!!

Littered throughout the movie are unusual characters that are, well, unusual for unusual sake. For instance, one character named Eve is googly eyed, a loner and all around geek. To explain her presence, her sister was a part of the sorority and yet before we could fall in love with this dweeb, she goes and dies on us... Those bastards! Another character introduced is Ryan, a sleazy asshole boyfriend who likes to videotape is sex-capades. I realize these characters were brought aboard, in addition to raise the body count, probably to start a guessing game that he/she might be a part of the killing spree.

END SPOILERS

My biggest issue, however, is it collapses into the same pratfalls like so many other horror flicks. One, having the killer waiting in quiet just in case the victims would stop by... and you get the idea what happens next. The second item is the fact that, like so many recent horror movies like Saw III -- I actually consider the original a top-notch psychological thriller -- and Hostel, it rarely was actually scary and more disgusting. I turned away from the screen not because I was so filled with tension but instead because I don’t need to see someone eat eyeballs. Call me square, but those kinds of things don’t do it for me.

Glen Morgan, writer/producer on Final Destination 1 and 3, directed the movie; he also was the writer/director of box office flop Willard, as well as writing some “X-Files” episodes. Not to say he doesn’t have the skill but as I’ve already mentioned, I didn’t find the movie all that frightening. It was disgusting for sure, however being disgusting for the sake of shock value is equally sickening...

Black Christmas isn’t a bad film and it should satisfy some horror fans but it offers very little in terms of characters we care about and provides a background for a villain we care about even less. I find the fact that the original sparked so many in the genre more fascinating than the actual movie.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The DVD isn’t as packed as I’d hoped. When you have a good looking ensemble like this, a cast commentary would’ve been great, alas, we get this set which in itself is satisfactory.

Deleted Scenes (7:05) - This set of seven deleted scenes contain extra footage that really adds little to either story or thrills. Three scenes are extended or alternate cuts (one included in the international version) and, at least to me, are no less gruesome than what was already in the film.

MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!

Alternate Endings (12:05) - Fans might enjoy the three alternate endings; each has some combination of what ultimately made into the final product. One scene ends with the killer actually surviving... I’m actually more satisfied with what they went with but it was also interesting seeing the other options.

END MAJOR SPOILERS

“What Have You Done?: The Remaking of Black Christmas” (28:00) - The basic making-of material with cast and crew explaining why they wanted to do this remake, plus the original director, Bob Clark, visited the set. The typical sound bites are used like making this their own yet still paying homage to the original, etc. There is one story when Lacey Chabert injured her foot and finding out the doctor who treated her was in fact co-star Katie Cassidy’s step-father. Since the foul language gets bleeped out, I assume this was made for HBO, MTV or something...

“May All Your Christmases Be Black”, A Filmmaker’s Journey (26:32) - This one focuses on writer/producer/director Glen Morgan and his journey making the movie from casting his wife (Kristen Cloke) to worrying if he’d ever get the chance to direct again after the failure of Willard. Not entirely in depth but you get a sense of who Morgan is as a person and he undeniably has a down to earth tone about him.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The movie, in all its bloody disgust, is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and looks perfect with the dark tones coming to the screen nicely. This was a good, though typical, transfer.

The only audio track is the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds good enough. Turn your surround sound up enough, maybe you’re neighbors will be concerned.



.::OVERALL::.

Black Christmas is an OK movie but as much as they say the original spawned all the horror films today, it seems this one wanted to push the limit a little further. While scenes in other recent horror flicks were grosser, Black Christmas surely is right up there.