Black Christmas (2006)
Film: Black Christmas
Director: Glen Morgan
Writer: Glen Morgan and Roy Moore
Starring: Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Lacey Chabert
This film begins with a young woman writing a note on a gift to her sister. She looks at her closet and her clothes are moving. She gets up to check it out and then sits back down. Her pen is missing and we see someone under her bed. A plastic bag is then put over her head and she is stabbed in the eye with her pen.
We then shift to a car outside. Inside of it are Katie Cassidy and Oliver Hudson. They are kissing. It is Christmas Eve and he wants her to spend the night with him. She tells him that she can’t, because she has a Christmas party with her sorority sisters. He doesn’t seem to like them very much, but she tells him she didn’t have a big family and this sorority gave her that.
Inside the living room of the house are some of the sisters, ready to open up their presents for secret Santa. There is Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert and the house mom Andrea Martin. Up in her room is Jessica Harmon. She is watching a video on her computer and she is upset. She hears something in the attic above her and goes to check it out. She is attacked by the person as well.
The film then shifts to a mental hospital. There is a nurse handing out food to the patients who have to be kept in private rooms. He drops a milk carton and it prevents the secured door from closing. Someone in boots and leather gloves opens it and enters. This man is in a Santa Claus suit and he is looking for the children’s ward. He is told by the security guard, played by Ron Selmour, that he can’t be in this wing. The Santa is played by Michael Adamthwaite. Adamthwaite notices the name on a door and asks if that is the murderer who killed his whole family on Christmas. There is something about him eating his family as well.
Cassidy comes into the house and wants to get the opening of presents started. She goes upstairs to get the rest of the girls. A lush played by Crystal Lowe comes out to help her and shows her how it is done. None of the other sisters seem to be home so they go downstairs.
Martin forces them to continue to do a tradition in order to ward off the dark spirit of the murderer who lived in the house, the same person in the mental hospital. The film then goes into his back-story. He was born with jaundice that makes his skin yellow and his mother hates him, the mother played by Karin Konoval. The father loves the boy, the father played by Peter Wilds and son by Cainan Wiebe. Konoval and her lover, played by Howard Siegel, kill the father. Wiebe witnesses it and Konoval knows it. He climbs through the wall to the attic where she locks him in.
Back in the mental hospital, we see that the killer played by Robert Mann, has sharpened a candy cane to a point. He puts through a note to Selmour and kills him when he comes into his room. Mann escapes from the prison after killing Adamthwaite and taking his costume.
The girls in the living are getting obscene phone calls from the missing girl’s cellphones. Winstead decides to go pack to leave and meets another of the sisters who is kind of weird. She drew her for secret Santa and gives her gift, which is a glass unicorn head. This woman leaves the house as well.
We are also given back-story that Konoval wanted a baby that she loved. Her new husband had issues and she goes up to the attic, to her son. There is then a baby girl, played by Christina Crivici. Mann gets out one day and wants everyone to join his family for the holidays.
The sorority sisters start to disappear one by one. They start to wonder what is happening. Who is behind this? Who is killing these young women? Hudson is hiding a secret as he is from this town, what does he know?
I had watched this version before watching the original. I have since rewatched both films. Upon my second viewing of this one, I do have to say that this one is a little better than I remembered. I liked that this one did something a little bit different from the original and it keeps you guessing on who the killer is. What makes the original so much scarier is that you don’t know who the killer is, where this one there is a local legend about him. This one does add an extra element by telling his whole back-story as there is a sister. It makes you wonder who she is and if she is involved in this story somehow. I do have to say that this cast is pretty good, but none of their acting blew me away, unfortunately. They are quite attractive which helps a film like this. There is the element of the boyfriend that the first one had, which makes you wonder since he is a townie if he is involved for this version. Other than that, the story is very similar with what is happening as well as the obscene phone calls. There is also the issue of being a voyeur, which we see from the killer creating holes in many rooms and Lowe points out that Santa Claus is considered a voyeur by watching us year round.
This one does have its issues though. I personally like that the originally didn’t give us all the information about the killer, because it makes us wonder if it is one of the men we meet in the film or someone else. Now I know this one wanted to be a little different, which I respect. The other issue with this one for me is that all of seem to make horrible choices, which is a part of the slasher film. I understand that, but these girls seem to be smart. An example is Lowe questioning the holiday, because she makes great points. I also do not believe that when they call the police to tell them about the murderer that they would do absolutely nothing. There would be such a huge scandal, despite the weather and everything. I also wish they could explain what the obsession by the killer to take the eyes of its victims as well.
With that said, this film had the potential to be better than what it was. The original was one of the first slasher films and had a great mystery. This film tried to do something different, but it personally didn’t play out as well. The cast looked great and some of them are quite talented as actresses, but they didn’t do enough to impress me in this film. I believe they over introduced the killer, taking away the mystery. There was a decent twist to make this one different, but I would still recommend seeing the original as that one is better.
My Rating: 5 out of 10