Katie Cassidy as Kelli Presley
Michelle Trachtenberg as Melissa Kitt
Kristen Cloke as Leigh Crosby
Colvin Crystal Lowe as Lauren Hanon
Lacey Chabert as Dana Mathis
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Heather Lee
Black Christmas, the original from 1974 Directed by Bob Clark, is often credited with being the original slasher movie. Not the first movie to have someone slashed mind you, but the film that defined the modern slasher genre that has a crazy killer slinking around picking off the victims one by one in gross and unpredictable ways.
When Black Christmas was slated to be remade and released in 2006 at Christmas time I had serious doubts. How would it be the same without Margot Kidder as the drunken sorority sister? How could that creepy old sorority house be duplicated? Why was yet another classic horror movie being remade in a desperate attempt to avoid creativity and capitalize on the nostalgia of horror fans that love the older brilliant fare?
Thankfully the worst of my fears did not become reality with Black Christmas 2006.
Black Christmas 2006 begins in primarily the same manner as the original from 1974. It is Christmas vacation and the sorority sisters are preparing either to go home for the holidays or settle in for a cold winter vacation on campus. Unbeknownst to any of them there is an uninvited visitor lurking in the attic.
One of the sisters is busy wrapping gifts in her room and drinking red wine when she hears a strange noise coming from the closet. She, of course, investigates…but decides that it must be air from the heating vent rustling her fresh-from-the-drycleaner clothing. She returns to her spot on the floor and tries to continue her gift-wrapping but, what? Her pen is not in the place where she left it. Hmmm. Before you can say “get your butt out of there” the pen becomes firmly embedded in her skull.
One by one the sorority sisters are lured to a spot where nobody can hear them scream…and nobody does. Meanwhile there are disturbing phone calls coming from the cell phones of their absent friends, and an underlying story of a psychotic killer that once killed and ate his mother in this very house.
Murder, mayhem and the scattering of young lovelies ensues.
Whether or not you are a fan of the original Black Christmas, I offer the following reasons whyBlack Christmas 2006 deserves to be seen:
• The Gore – Black Christmas 2006 has some of the greatest gore I’ve seen in a while – not specifically because of the content of the gory scenes, but because of the quick and in-your-face nature of the scenes. All is fine, Wham Bam nasty gut-wrenching gore in the blink of an eye and then all is quiet. It’s quite wonderful.
• The Character Switch-A-Roo – Many of the characters that were present in the original are present in the remake, but they have an added edge to them. Okay, Margot Kidder as the drunken sister is sorely missed…but that is made up for by the fact that one of the sister’s boyfriends, a lame dancer in the original, is a unscrupulous cad in Black Christmas 2006 that seduces several of the sisters and posts the film of his escapades with them on the Internet…cool.
• Background – great pains are taken to give we viewers a glimpse into the background of the killer. “It doesn’t excuse what he does, but I think we understand him a bit better.”
• Plot Twists – I don’t want to give away anything from the first Black Christmas if you have not seen it, but there are some minimal twists involved in that story. Black Christmas 2006 assumes that we already know those twists from the original and adds some extras that not only give depth to the story but add elements that give the movie a reason to have been made.
Remakes are extremely common these days in horror. In a perfect world every single new and great horror movie will have a completely unique and never-seen element that causes the flick to go down in history as one of the classics of the genre. If I can’t have that then at least make sure that the remake adds something to the story and has enough inherent value on their own to make me glad that I put out 7 bucks to watch it.
Thankfully, Black Christmas 2006 falls into this second category. If you like fast action, intense “turn around, turn around!” scenes, creative and “yell out loud” gore and an interesting and compelling story-line, the Black Christmas 2006 is worth your time and effort. Just watch out for the icicles.