Main cast: Imogen Poots (Riley Stone), Aleyse Shannon (Kris Presley), Lily Donoghue (Marty), Brittany O’Grady (Jesse Bradford), Caleb Eberhardt (Landon), Madeleine Adams (Helena), Ben Black (Phil McIllaney), Simon Mead (Nate), Nathalie Morris (Fran), Zoë Robins (Oona), Ryan McIntyre (Brian Huntley), Mark Neilson (Gil), Lucy Currey (Lindsey), and Cary Elwes (Professor Gelson)
Director: Sophia Takal
This is the second remake of the 1974 cult slasher flick Black Christmas in about two decades, and it’s just as pointless as the last one. The previous remake at least offered some gore to satisfy those looking for such things, as well as some fairly high profile female leads of that time. This Black Christmas, though, may have the aesthetics of the original movie – although I’d argue that it’s not that hard to put in Christmas decorations in one’s set in the first place – but it is a completely different movie in terms of essence. In other words, this is another example of Hollywood thinking that pushing forth a woke message will be enough to make the movie, and hijacking a popular name for that purpose because, amusingly, it has no confidence in its own wokeness. Forget things like story, characterization, good death scenes – the wokeness is enough, and no critic will dare insult this movie for fear of being seen as an alt-right by idiots in the social media.
Too bad that being woke doesn’t automatically drive people to watch the movie.
This time around, we have the ladies of MKE sorority of Hawthorne College fighting back against the rape culture and patriarchy of the college in generally, especially the AKO fraternity. Riley Stone has been raped by the now expelled president of AKO, Brian Huntley, but because all white men in existence are racist rapists, nobody believes her claims of being raped. Their latest so brave, so woke antic is by infiltrating the AKO talent show to sing and harangue the men in the audience about their rapist, racist, sexist ways. Really, this movie isn’t subtle at all in going all one-note, unrealistic, and cringy about this, to the point that it’s easy to imagine that the whole thing was conceived by a teenage fan of CW shows, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Everyday Feminism. Co-screenwriter and director Sophia Takal is clearly an adult though, so I can only wonder what her excuse is. “I put in a woke message and can get lazy in other aspects of the show!” perhaps?
Weirdly enough, the rape and murder culture of this college is ultimately revealed to be a result of supernatural possession, the direct result of one of the idiot ladies in MKE trying to erase history because historical facts don’t agree with her concept of ideological purity… so perhaps this is a subversive effort to dismiss the more unthinking aspects of feminism that has taken hold of social media these days? The rest of this badly constructed movie doesn’t suggest that the people behind this movie have the necessary intelligence to come up with such a thing.
You see, this movie doesn’t really want to be a slasher flick, so the death scenes are mostly off-camera. There is also no suspense, as practically every white male here is one-note evil. What passes for fun here is plenty of boring talking and mundane chases, with a thick, suffocating disingenuous and cynical men-are-inherently-evil vibe that is more eye-rolling than anything else.
No wonder this one tries so hard to be woke – it’s hopelessly inadequate in every other manner as a slasher flick, and worst of all, it’s nowhere bad enough to be entertaining. It’s just boring.