Black Christmas

With standard Christmas junk like The Santa Clause 3 and Deck the Halls occupying screens every year, it's nice to see any sort of counter-programming.  Black Christmas, based on the cult 1974 classic, tries to be a Christmas slasher movie, but it is exactly like every other slasher movie out there.  Even the R rating, which allows for a little more violence, language, and nudity, doesn't liven things up.  Black Christmas, like so many other horror movies today, is dead on arrival.  Viewers cannot muster up enough effort to even try to figure out who will die and who will survive to the end.

It's Christmas Eve, and some girls in a sorority are stuck behind.  A few don't seem too happy, and worse, they live in a house where a serial murderer once lived.  Nice setup.  For now, Billy Lenz (Robert Mann) lives in a nearby mental institution.  Every Christmas, he tries to escape and return home, where he killed his entire family.  Oh, and for some reason, he's yellow.  House mother Mrs. Mac (Andrea Martin, How to Eat Fried Worms, The Producers) has a morbid little gift exchange ritual in which one sorority sister always draws Billy's name.

The gimmick here is that Lenz likes to pluck out the eyes of unsuspecting victims and eat them.  Uh, okay.  This gives adapter/director Glen Morgan (Willard) plenty of opportunity to flaunt his R rating.  Otherwise, dim-witted coeds, including Katie Cassidy (Click, When a Stranger Calls), Michelle Trachtenberg (Ice Princess, Mysterious Skin), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Bobby, Final Destination 3), Crystal Lowe (Snakes on a Plane, Scary Movie 4), Lacey Chabert (Dirty Deeds, Mean Girls) and second random adult Kristen Cloke (Willard, Final Destination) run around like typical people in horror movies, getting offed one by one.

Most of the film takes place in or right around the sorority house.  It's huge, old, and seems to have the creakiest floors in history.  Conveniently, a huge storm blocks the police from easily coming to the house once Lenz escapes.  And the neighborhood seems to be completely devoid of any life whatsoever.   Morgan doesn't build much tension with his characters, and most of them are indistinguishable.  There's the bitchy one that hates Christmas, the bitchy one that likes fashion, and a few others.  Black Christmas is mercifully short, even with a prolonged ending.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 24 minutes, Rated R for strong horror violence and gore, sexuality, nudity, and language.

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