Cast: Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady
Director: Sophia Takal
Holy hell Blumhouse. You’ve released some pretty bad movies in your lifetime, but Black Christmas may be the worst one yet. I understand it’s important to have social commentary and identify the weak points of our society, but you need an actual story to move these ideas along. On top of this, being a scary movie with no scares doesn’t help your case in that department either. I know this is a throwaway Christmas horror movie and shouldn’t be taken very seriously, but when you put yourself in the arena with other topical movies, you better come with the ammunition to back up your points. Lethargic, preachy, and boring, Black Christmas should’ve relied less on its “wokeness” and more on creating a movie scary enough to remember or smart enough to comment on the themes it wants us to recognize.
The film follows Riley (Poots), a college senior who wants to fight back against the fraternity where she was raped years ago. When a prank against them goes viral, Riley and her friends end up facing an evil they never thought they would see and all of their lives are in danger because of it. Now in traditional horror movies, most of the antagonists involve something recognizable like a monster, killer, or supernatural demon. You know, something unrealistic yet frightening in the context of the movie. In Black Christmas, the villain is something scarier than all of those things combined; the patriarchy. The entirety of the 99 minute runtime is about how white men have ruined society for everyone outside their circle and it’s up to girls to take it back. Now, have white men done a lot of big things to millions of people across time? Of course. Will making a B-level horror movie change any of those things and create a dialogue on the problem? Absolutely not. With the subtlety of an elephant with a stubbed toe, Black Christmas thrashes this point and doesn’t have a clear objective with its tired and overdone message. It’s ironic that Poots was already in a movie this year that tackled these issues very clearly in The Art of Self-Defense, but she couldn’t see how much of a disaster this movie is. Social commentary requires the art of things like tact, double-entendre, and metaphors, but those are too complicated for Blumhouse’s target audience so Takal just bashes us with a nonsensical argument for the whole movie. At the very least the movie could have a few scary moments to lean into and entertain audiences, but it can’t even do that right. All the scares are pre-planned and obvious, and even the relatively interesting supernatural fraternity can’t save this movie from being one of the worst of the year. There’s a time and a place for movies that deal with topics as sensitive as these, but Black Christmas completely misses the point here and only annoys audiences without doing anything right. Teenage audiences who are looking for a dumb PG-13 horror movie may enjoy this, but everyone else will have a terrible time with this movie.
Overall, militant behavior is not the best way to convince anyone that you should side with them, and Black Christmas very clearly didn’t get that memo before this movie was made. When you have a movie where male characters unironically use the phrase, “alpha male,” you’d think this movie was inspired by a 4Chan thread and they thought, “that’s what men think they should be.” Black Christmas is proof that the divide between the right and the left may be worse than I thought and this doesn’t create an opportunity for an honest dialogue to occur.
Overall Score: 2/10