The festive season is now upon and many horror fans will be lining up an alternative playlist to Die Hard, Home Alone and The Grinch.
One of the films that could appear on many watch lists this year, is the latest reboot of Black Christmas released in 2019 by Blumhouse.
The film has recently landed on the UK version of Netflix, whilst it has been available on HBO for over 12 months and has garnered quite a loyal and vocal following.
Rewinding to 2019, the film felt almost destined to fail from the start, with its tight turn around in production to the fact the Black Christmas narrative was being reworked to a more contemporary audience.
The sorority girls remained whilst the elusive ‘Billy’ that had featured in the first two films was replaced by a tale of female empowerment and a social commentary on the fallout of the #MeToo movement and allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
While its frat cult alternative may not have completely landed, Black Christmas 2019 does offer something completely different than your standard slasher; and for a genre that thrives on repetition, it should be commended for this.
Imogen Poots is a fantastic leading lady and really sells the trauma of her past experiences whilst building the strength to finally take down her oppressors.
Sadly her enthusiasm can’t be matched by Cary Elwes limp performance as the dastardly college Professor Gelson, the fraternity group certainly carries an air of menace. Things could have been very different if the original casting of Sam Neill would have happened if not for scheduling conflicts.
Black Christmas 2019 was a film very at odds with its past and you get the feeling if they didn’t carry the burden of the title, and its established past in the genre, the film would have performed better. Case in point, another similar tale Initiation, released a year later, works much smoother with a very similar narrative strand.
According to co-writer April Wolfe, part of the script was born out of harrowing experiences she herself suffered in the past, which is perhaps one of the reasons the scenes where assault is implied or attempted, really strike a nerve.
Director Sophia Takal is also extremely capable behind the lens, creating some eye-catching visuals throughout plus there is even a callback to The Exorcist III.
My advice would be to go into Black Christmas 2019 without reading about the past iterations and give the film its honest merit based on their story and not what you or I feel it is trying to imitate. Who knows you may just see the film with fresh eyes?
Black Christmas 2019 is now available to stream on Netflix in the UK.