Black Christmas. Picture: Universal
Black Christmas. Picture: Universal

REVIEW: Remake more scary movie than witless hack-’em-up

A SOLID enough horror movie, Black Christmas has been softened around the edges to appeal to a wider audience than usual.

So much so that the producers of this modern remix of the 1974 cult classic of the same name have been copping flak from hardliner gore-hounds for backing off on the blood and the guts.

It matters little that Black Christmas has only been screened to a handful of media worldwide, which means there's a whole lot of people getting worked up over something they are yet to lay eyes on.

Anyway, should you approach Black Christmas expecting a moderately intelligent scary movie as opposed to a witless hack-'em-up, you will be more than content with what transpires.

Picture: Universal
Picture: Universal

The setting is a frosty Hawthorne College, a standard-format prestige educational facility that has been largely vacated due to the Christmas break.

Within the walls of the all-female sorority house of Mu Kappa Epsilon, the residents gradually notice their slender numbers are being further reduced by an unknown menace.

Riley Stone (Imogen Poots) is the first to sense something is amiss in these usually tranquil surrounds.

She is still recovering from a date-rape episode in which the perpetrator, a fellow Hawthorne student, got away with it without so much as a rap on the knuckles.

However, as no-one believed her when she raised the alarm about her traumatic assault, who will answer Riley's call for help as her roommates are picked off one-by-one?

Picture: Universal
Picture: Universal

 

Without giving too much away, Riley and what remains of her friendship group have no choice but to find, identify and take down the mystery assassin themselves.

Is it one of the boys from one of the rambunctious frat down the street? Or might it be a serial killer from off-campus, with no real motive other than a pronounced dislike of smart young women?

While the answer comes relatively quickly, the film moves slowly in completing all terrifying transactions on its body-count register. Perhaps too slow for some tastes.

Nevertheless, the fusing of regulation horror tropes with contemporary #MeToo and #TimesUp themes keeps you thinking while your pulse is pounding.

 

BLACK CHRISTMAS (M)

Director: Sophia Takal (Always Shine)

Starring: Imogen Poots, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O'Grady, Cary Elwes.

Rating: ***

Race against time to unwrap mystery presence


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