I watched the original 1974 version of Black Christmas several years back when I was going through my classic horror phase. This was just around the same time I saw the original April Fools Day. And now that the remake was made available on Netflix, I also witnessed how it was butchered by new filmmakers, just like April Fool’s Day‘s pathetic attempt to revive a classic. Ugh.
Synopsis: A bunch of sorority girls are stalked and killed by a masked hooded figure over the Christmas break.
Where do I begin outlining where Black Christmas 2019 went wrong?
No. 1: Changing the entire story. The first version was fairly simple. A deranged killer preys on a sorority house in an attempt to takes revenge on the girls after a member mocked him during a prank call. It was simple. Yet, it made sense — more sense than turning a revenge story into an attempt of a male supremacist cult to take over the world, led by most obvious suspect.
No. 2: It was too preachy. Its not a wrong thing to inject an advocacy into the movie, in this case, feminism, girl power, sisterhood. However, the script was so heavy handed in pushing this idea that it became so suffocating. Sure, as a woman, I appreciate that the film was used as a platform to inspire a conversation about gender based violence. But the fact that filmmakers had to go the supernatural route to depict men as selfish, arrogant brutes made everything seem ridiculous. It destroyed any attempt at portraying women as strong figures in real life. I mean, how could you take seriously such an archaic belief in this day and age without a single member protesting? In the same way as the film tried to paint all women as strong, fierce and loyal, it tried to paint all men as brainless douchebags. Of the very small number of relatively normal guys in the movie (2), only one survived and he was saved by women. Am I making my point? The film left no room for compromise and this method of portraying one gender as a heroes and one as villains is just as a archaic as the belief of villains in the film.
No. 3. The execution of the murder scenes seemed rushed. It was if the filmmakers were in a hurry to deliver a bigger body count instead of more memorable death scenes. This was a slasher film but it was more focused on trying to shock the audience with the cult reveal instead of showcasing creative death scenes. Dude, this was not the first movie to explore this plot. It’s not so shocking. What’s shocking was how it was used to make a completely simple film seem quite unbelievable.
No. 4. Riley was an unrelatable heroine. While there was a genuine attempt to make audiences root for Riley, because of her experience with assault and not being taken seriously by authorities, its really hard to root for a heroine who moved so slowly and made very poor decisions. There was no sense of urgency in Riley’s actions. It seemed that her existence was to build up to one moment of heroism and that was just about it.
The original Black Christmas film had a simpler premise, but it delivered on its promise of delivering many deaths and a shocking reveal (for its time. Remember that this was in 1974).
The new film tried to build more layers to the tale, but the story got away from them. Black Christmas 2019 was a mess from start to finish. Moral Lessons: Don’t fix what ain’t broken. Just because you could doesn’t mean you should. Don’t try to flip a classic just to prove you are better. Because in this case, the remake, developed over 30 years later than the original, was far inferior to the 1974 classic IN ALL ASPECTS.