All setup and no payoff makes this a dull film.
It’s Christmastime at a college sorority house that just happens to be the same house where a serial killer butchered his own family. We meet each of the characters (read: victims) one by one: Kelli (Katie Cassidy), Melissa (Michelle Trachtenberg), Heather (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Dana (Lacey Chabert), and Leigh (Kristen Cloke). At some point or another, someone tells the gruesome story at the same time the real killer escapes, and we get to see neither the gratuitous nudity promised to suck us in nor any creative kills to bide our time. The real victims are anyone watching.
Mere words are not enough to ward you away from this emasculated (both figuratively and literally) slasher flick. The story is pure schlock, a paint-by-number do-it-yourself scary movie stock plot barely dressed up by A-list hotties (notice we didn’t say “actresses”). Sure there’s some skin, but not what you were hoping for. Sure there’s some blood, but not what you were hoping for. It’s as if every corner was cut in favor of showing five babes in tight sweaters talking bitchy until the killer puts them out of our misery. After a few decent horror flicks recently making their way back into the mainstream, this is a serious step in the wrong direction and shameful that any studio would try and unload this turkey with the sole intent of making a buck.
The previews have the best footage already, if you can call it good footage. Tired angles, poor “Christmas light” lighting, and ridiculously foolish victims all make for a tiresome outing. Not one character is developed enough to care for nor naked enough to pay attention to, and forget about anything resembling a story. A sequel to Elm Street or even Friday the 13th would have been less predictable, and the villain is a poor shadow of past monsters. Even the shrill scream of tiny white throats fail to illicit a smile, and you know that’s never a good sign.
Black Christmas is a film that all aspiring filmmakers should watch at least once, the perfect example of going horribly wrong. There’s simply no excuse for this kind of film to exist a studio level or even an Indie level (who actually know better than this). Worse yet, the film is chock full of opportunities to go in better directions, but it’s as if a better script did once exist, one written by a writer that the director despises and refuses to give credit to by throwing out all the good ideas in favor of crap. Here’s it is, boys and ghouls, the zero skull movie of 2006!
(a zero skull recommendation out of four)