Black X-Mas (2006)
Black X-Mas (also pronounced/marketed as Black Christmas) is a 2006 American-Canadian slasher film written and directed by Glen Morgan and a remake of the 1974 horror classic of the same name.
The holiday season turns deadly for a group of sorority sisters (Katie Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Michelle Trachtenberg) who are stranded at their campus house during a snowstorm. These coeds better watch out, for a vicious killer is on the loose, and he will not care if they are naughty or nice.
- Much like the 2007 Halloween remake (which was also distributed by MGM and Dimension Films), this film gives the killer (in this case, Billy Lenz) WAY too much backstory, taking away the killer’s mysterious, psychotic nature.
- The film also takes away the fact that the killer is never revealed or explained in the original movie and reduces him to a typical "local legend"-type of killer.
- Billy has a clichéd "miserable childhood with abusive parents" backstory.
- All of the performances by the cast including Katie Cassidy, Lacey Chabert, Crystal Lowe and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are nothing to write home about. (Although given how bad this script is, they could have been a lot worse), and not only that, they seriously hired a man to play the female killer (Agnes), which is some terrible casting.
- Unlike the 1974 original, which executed psychological drama and slasher horror very well, this focuses on the slasher elements more. While that's not a bad thing, the slasher elements are generic and poorly done, while the drama is horribly written.
- There was no point from Billy getting diagnosed with jaundice and yellow skin at birth.
- It completely lacks the suspenseful and horror-filled charm that the 1974 original film had. For example:
- The creepy and obscene phone calls are lame, and nothing like the ones from the original.
- Some unneeded, over-the-top and disgusting gore, like the recurring kill of the killer(s) gouging and/or stabbing someone's eye out and then eating it, which is very nauseating to watch, especially for an R-rated film. This would probably belong in an NC-17 rated film.
- Also, some of the kills are very boring and lame. Some of them lack a lot of gore, like the cop who gets stabbed with a sharpened candy cane, even though this is supposed to be a gory film, and others are ruined by terrible cinematography, like Dana's death.
- It's incredibly obvious throughout most of the film that the one killing the sorority girls isn't Billy (it's Agnes) and the movie treats it like a twist after Kelli stabs her in the eye with a poker.
- Both Billy and his daughter/sister, Agnes, are lame antagonists and are not as intimidating or suspense-building as the original unidentified killer.
- The infamous scene where Billy's own mother rapes him at the AGE OF 12.
- To make it worse, he gets her pregnant as a result.
- Unlike the original killer who stayed hidden and killed his victims off one-by-one without being seen, these killers kill right out in the open without any subtlety or build up.
- In some scenes in the film, you can obviously tell the snow is fake.
- Most of the characters are either unlikable, one-dimensional or just plain bland.
- The line "She's my family now!" is overused.
- It can also be considered a rip-off of Freddy Krueger's "I'm your boyfriend now!" from the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.
- One of the sorority sisters, Eve, is EXTREMELY pointless to the plot and serves no purpose other than to be a red herring and another body for the kill count. You can literally write her out of the script completely and the plot would've stayed the same.
- Plus, all of the other characters acts like she's some kind of weird person.
- Several cases of executive meddling, to the point where even the director of the film (Glen Morgan) hated how the movie turned out.
- The final act where the killer(s) are revealed to still be alive and chasing the female protagonist around a hospital feels like a copy and rip-off of Halloween II.
- Also, the hospital sequence was unnecessary, as the film could have ended after Kelly and Leigh escape the house.
- Mrs. MacHenry's death in this movie is extremely unrealistic and almost impossible in real-life; she gets impaled right through the head by an icicle after witnessing Heather's death, which, in reality, would not be strong enough to go through her head.
- Several scenes from the trailer are nowhere to be seen in the film itself, the most well-known one being Melissa holding and pointing a gun at someone while saying "Merry Christmas, motherf*cker!".
- It's nice to see Andrea Martin (who was one of the main sorority sisters in the original Black Christmas named Phyl) return to play a role in this film.
- The film’s cinematography is quite colorful and vibrant.
- The soundtrack, composed by the late Shirley Walker, is passable.
- Billy's original dad is likable.
- After all the abuse and torture they put him through, Billy killing his abusive mother and stepdad was very satisfying.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a decent performance, and her character, Heather, isn't as bad as the other sorority sisters.
- Although not as good as the original film from 1974, it is somewhat better and a little bit more watchable than Universal's 2019 remake of the same name.
- As mentioned above on BQ#8, the slasher elements aren't a bad thing.
The film holds a 15% "rotten" rating on the internet review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 58 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads: "A gratuitous remake of the 1974 slasher, Black Christmas pumps out the gore and blood with zero creativity, humor or visual flair." On Metacritic, the film was given an average rating of 22/100 based on 17 reviews. The film has been characterized by film scholars and critics as an example of a contemporary slasher film.
- Amanda Seyfried auditioned for the lead role of Kelli, but lost to Katie Cassidy.
- Out of all the actresses in the film, Lacey Chabert is the only one out of all the others in the film that was not involved with the horror genre, whether it be a movie or TV series, prior to this film.
- After the box office failure of Willard (2003), Glen Morgan stated that, if this film were to bomb, it would be the end of his directorial career. This film would be a critical and financial failure (grossing $21 million against a $9 million budget and receiving an abysmal 15% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes). As of 2020, he has yet to direct another film.
- Lacey Chabert injured her leg on the first day of shooting while filming the crawlspace sequence where Agnes kills her character. The actress flew back to Los Angeles to see a doctor and, coincidentally enough, the doctor who treated her was the stepfather of her co-star, Katie Cassidy.
- This is the final film to be composed by Shirley Walker before her death on November 30, 2006, less than a month before the film's release.