I’m pretty sure I saw this version of Black Christmas before, but it may not have made quite as much of an impact on me… There were things that I remembered, certain beats but all in all it felt fresh, like watching it for the first time.
I’m a great apologist for a lot of remakes. I don’t hate on them simply for the sake of hating on them, but I do understand how this one might have drawn some serious criticism. Black Christmas is a cult favorite, with a very loyal fan base and any sort of a remake was going to inspire hate. Curiously enough, the director himself was a fan of the original and Bob Clark, the director of the original was on set to supervise occasionally.
There’s another thing that probably irritates a lot of the fans of the original… There’s a significant tonal shift here. You’re bound to get that when you’re going from the 70s film to a New Millennium movie, but it’s more than that. While it’s not official, as far as I’m concerned, the original black Christmas is a giallo. We have an unseen killer, we have POV shots of murederous hands and mysterious phone calls… It’s still kind of a horror movie, with some original kills and murder and none of the redeeming features of a say an episode of Law and Order, but as horror films go it has more in common with the giallo than other forms of film. There’s a far greater emphasis on the detective work than the stalker. The 2006 film on the other hand, is most definitely a slasher. There’s over-the-top Gore, a deformed stalking killer, and even a trophy reveal towards the end with all the victims piled into one place. The slasher genre isn’t quite as intellectual as the giallo… Not quite as respected.
Here’s the thing though, I don’t like giallo. Give me a good slasher film any day.
That may be why this take on this material appeals to me. In a very real way, it’s a very different film from its namesake. We have a couple of similar titles and names, and a handful of homage set pieces, but other than the fact that you got a killer in a girls dormitory at Christmas time, it’s simply not the same film. Remake is kind of stretching the definition. Reboot might serve it better.
I like the fact that we get to know the killer… Or should I say killers? We’ve got some deformities to make them into monsters and some well thought-out kills. Indeed, the amount of blood and gore in this film actually surprised me – a pleasant surprise mind you and this time around engaged through the whole thing. I got to admit, I really enjoyed this and it’s been enough to get me to check out some of the directors other work – not to mention giving me a reason to pull out the original film complete with Margot Kidder and John Saxon! I’m relying on dim memories for most of my comparisons here and I’d like a refresher.
Maybe we’ll tackle that another time. I’m running out of days until Christmas…