When socially conscious sorority sisters stay on campus over winter break, they must elude a masked stalker determined to kill their holiday spirit.
Runtime: 1hr 32m
Director: Sophia Takal
Starring: Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Cary Elwes, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, Caleb Eberhardt, Simon Mead, Madeleine Adams, Nathalie Morris, Ben Black
Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/81151909
I don’t really do Christmas films – I’ve only just seen “It’s A Wonderful Life” after 41 years of my life. So I’m really pleased every year when I decide we’re all doing Christmas film reviews throughout December… Anyway, scrolling through the list of Christmas films available on Netflix UK I decided on something a little less traditional – the slasher/thriller “Black Christmas”.
The premise is simple (also somewhat dated) – a group of girls are being terrorised and killed and they need to stop it before they all die. Pretty standard stuff, really. The film opens with a young woman walking along a dark street at Christmastime with a man walking fairly close by behind her – suddenly she received a text message and starts to panic. She is, of course, then brutally murdered ready for the opening credits. Like I said, it’s pretty standard stuff – kill someone random at the start to set the scene then tell the actual story.
I’ve already said a couple of times that “Black Christmas” is pretty standard, and it is – but that’s not to say it’s a bad film. Visually the film looks great and sets the dark tone of a murderous Christmas quite well. The camerawork is good and the use of Christmas lighting to enhance the feel also works well. The cast aren’t particularly well known in my opinion but they certainly aren’t amateurs and each play their parts well.
So, back to the story. The film is set in Hawthorne College just before the Christmas break but a group of sorority sisters and fraternity brothers are planning on staying on campus over the festive period. As with most films of this ilk, one of the main characters has a dark backstory that soon comes to light – she was drugged and raped by one of the fraternity brothers. The girls take part in a Christmas performance where they point out the predatory behaviour of certain staff and students at the college and, while most are in support, it clearly causes problems for the group with said individuals. So when Riley (Imogen Poots) and some of the other girls receive text messages from Hawthorn, the long-dead founder of the college, they suspect that one of their targets has decided to take revenge.
We’re now heading towards spoiler territory so it’s hard to really discuss the plot in any more detail. The bodies start to pile up and suspects are slowly eliminated – none of the deaths are particularly gruesome compared to some other slashers but the effects still look effective. From what I understand this 92 minute version of the film was rated PG-13 in America; there was also a longer, 111 minute cut that was R-rated with a bit more violence and swearing. The film also has a few reveals that send the story in a slightly more supernatural direction but I’m honestly not sure on my feelings on that.
Overall I quite enjoyed “Black Christmas” – even though it was fairly predictable at times, the tension and action was certainly present throughout. The feminism side of the story was quite an odd plot device for a film that uses the somewhat classic anti-feminist trope of ‘let’s hunt and kill the weak, defenseless women’. It was good to see it in there and have a moral message to the real world, but any good message about equal rights was quickly removed with the whole premise of college girls being the only victims… Perhaps I’m looking too deep into it though, it is, afterall, just a silly slasher movie!
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!