Just about anything would be better than the 2006 remake of Black Christmas. That was just sad. This new version is very different. Basically, the only things that are the same is that sorority girls are getting killed during the holidays and that it’s got the same name. This one has very important/impactful messages about gender and patriarchy, which is a lot more interesting than the usual lazy slasher film plots. With that being said, there are some issues with this film, pacing being the number one hiccup. The plot could have used some more fleshing out as well.
I knew this film was going to be meet with a lot of negative reviews and comments, and not necessarily because of subpar quality. A lot of people will automatically shutdown a film simply because of a message that shoots down the patriarchy. If a film has a strong feminist message, it brings out the people who will condemn it as “man-hating” or “sexist against men”. I want to address this films very strong feminism and explain why these accusations don’t hold water. So, I don’t like the idea of lumping people together and calling them all one thing, and I’m so glad Black Christmas doesn’t do that. The main characters in this film attack the PATRIARCHY, not men. Some people unfortunately fail to see the difference between these two. The Patriarchy contains people who further the oppression of women, it’s majority male but there’s also female misogynists. The enemy here is misogyny and patriarchal oppression. There are male characters here that help the main female characters, which is great because it represents the correct message that not all men want to oppress women. Plenty believe in equality and are great people. I love that these messages are presented in a smart way. So no, this film is not sexist against men. It’s problems lie elsewhere.
The beginning is promising and features an interesting kill scene that’s different than the usual kill offs in horror films. The introduction to the characters are well done too. We learn each woman’s personality very quickly which helps us to relate to them. The cast does an impressive job, especially Aleyse Shannon who plays the passionate Kris. Shannon provides her character with the appropriate amount of kick ass spirit and righteous anger, and later on she’s finally able to channel all of that in a positive way. Seeing strong passionate female characters that take no s--t is powerful and gives the film what it needs.
The reason this film doesn’t reach its full potential is not because of the cast. The pacing is noticeably off, with not enough emphasis on the second half. When things really start gearing up, it’s over far too soon. I didn’t feel like I had experienced a climax. It was more like a short intense scene. The idea of an evil fraternity having misogynistic goals is too interesting to not fully take advantage of a meaningful climax. We don’t get to know the antagonists either, there are some very sinister villains here and we only get to see them surface level, I would’ve liked to see more of them.
There’s some very good things about the ending scene, things that hit me like a series of gut punches. The absolutely brutal dialogue delivered by the antagonists is shocking and caused a feeling of rage from within me. The lines are well written and deliver the appropriate feeling of guttural anger. While it’s difficult to see and hear, it’s successful in exposing the evil nature of the patriarchal doctrine. While I think the writing in the end works, they make a mistake in having a short “villain explains everything” speech that waters everything down. The other thing about the end that works very well is the way they show that unfortunately women can be misogynistic too. The way they show this is beyond disturbing and actually elicited a “wow” from me as I watched. So while the second half has some significant problems that end up hurting the film overall, I commend the bold choices that were made.
Black Christmas makes some bold decisions that I applaud and the cast does a great job but the pacing is problematic and the ending is too watered down.
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