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Sophia Takal
Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue
Writing Credits:
Sophia Takal, April Wolfe

A group of female students are stalked by a stranger during their Christmas break.

Box Office:
$5 Million.
Opening Weekend
$4,240,245 on 2625 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 3/17/2020

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Sophia Takal and Actor Imogen Poots
• Alternate Ending
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• 3 Featurettes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Black Christmas [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 28, 2020)

Though 1974’s Black Christmas failed to earn much money at the box office, it turned into a cult classic, one that helped pioneer the “slasher horror” genre. 32 years later, 2006 brought a remade version, one that didn’t score with fans or critics, as it underperformed commercially.

With 2019’s re-remake, would Black Christmas finally find an audience? Again: nope.

Because of its super-low $5 million budget, the 2019 version made a tiny profit. However, I’m sure the studio expected more than $18 million worldwide.

Maybe the 2019 film will spell the end of the story. I doubt it, so I expect a re-re-remake sometime around 2032.

As the students of Hawthorne College prepare to enjoy Winter Break, tragedy strikes. A trio of masked marauders murder a young woman named Lindsay (Lucy Curry) – and do so with an icicle.

The terror doesn’t stop with this one isolated killing, however, as the perpetrators set their sights on the sorority sisters of Mu Kappa Epsilon. This leaves them in a literal life and death struggle to beat their psychotic assailants.

If I ever saw the 1974 Christmas, that viewing occurred long ago and departed my memory. The film does enjoy some fairly notable talent, though, as it involved Christmas Story director Bob Clark and actors such as Margot Kidder, Keir Dullea, Olivia Hussey and a pre-SCTV Andrea Martin.

As the review link earlier indicates, I did watch the 2006 Christmas, though without that online evidence, I’d probably forget it. Dull and trite, the remake became a tedious genre effort.

At least the 2006 Christmas held true to one key aspect of the slasher genre: an “R” rating. The 2019 version wimps out and goes “PG-13”, a choice that denies genre fans potential gory thrills.

While the “PG-13” means tamped-down bloodshed, it doesn’t force the film to become bland or watered-down in other areas. A good horror film can prosper without graphic violence if it manages to churn out tension and scares.

That’d come from a good horror film. Unfortunately, the 2019 Christmas doesn’t qualify as a good horror film.

On the positive side, at least the 2019 film attempts something different in terms of plot. This occurs mainly because this version adopts a social orientation to suit its era.

This means the story focuses on Riley (Imogen Poots), a student who got raped by frat boy Brian Huntley (Ryan McIntyre). Though the school expelled him, he escaped criminal charges and continues to enjoy a positive reputation among his former pals.

The 2019 Christmas delves deeply into the social side, as it devotes a lot of its running time to the issues of male domination and abuse. Indeed, it takes until well past the 50-minute point for the horror to launch in earnest, as most of the prior running time deals with character and political issues.

A well-made movie could integrate these “MeToo” themes in a competent manner, but in the case of Christmas, they feel gratuitous. While I feel like I should admire the movie’s attempts to involve commentary into what could be a brainless slasher, this flick operates on such a simplistic level that it seems insulting.

I get the impression that Christmas goes for the social themes solely to add a patina of relevance to the tale. I don’t sense a lot of sincerity, as the movie treats Riley’s rape and related domains in such a casual manner that their involvement becomes superficial at best.

A smarter movie could achieve these goals, but Christmas lacks any sense of intelligence. It also goes completely off the rails during its third act, as the implausible becomes the absurd.

Perhaps if Christmas managed some tension or scares, the ham-fisted stabs at social commentary might not turn into an issue. Unfortunately, the film flops in that regard as well, and not because it lacks graphic violence.

No - Christmas fails because we never care about the characters and the film doesn’t develop its story in a compelling manner. We don’t get any real tension of drama, so we plod along from one ridiculous plot point to another.

All of these factors lead us toward an unconvincing and often downright silly mix of horror and social commentary. Pretty much nothing here succeeds.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Black Christmas appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a more than satisfactory presentation.

For the most part, sharpness seemed good. The image could be a little soft in some wider shots, but those remained minor and infrequent.

As expected, the image lacked problems like jaggies, shimmering and haloes. No print flaws marred the transfer.

Like virtually all modern horror flicks, Christmas went with a stylized palette. We got a lot of amber most of the time, so don’t expect anything dynamic. These tones suited the movie, as they veered toward a chilly sense that matched the winter setting.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows were fine. This turned into a perfectly positive image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, it offered a fairly typical horror movie soundscape. This meant a lot of creepy atmosphere and occasional “jolt moments”.

Along with good stereo music, the soundfield was able to open things up in a satisfying manner that embellished the story. This meant the mix didn’t dazzle, but it worked fine.

Audio quality was always good. Music appeared full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech was natural and distinctive throughout the film. Again, this wasn’t a heavily active track, but it made sense for the story.

A few extras round out the disc, and we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Sophia Takal and actor Imogen Poots. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and related domains.

At its best, the commentary offers a chatty, engaging piece. That said, I can’t claim it delivers a particularly insightful view of the film, as the discussion tends to seem a little superficial. Still, Takal and Poots keep things breezy and make this a likable piece, even if it lacks a lot of substance.

In addition to an Alternate Ending (1:22), we find five Deleted/Extended Scenes (5:47). The “Ending” remains nearly identical to the existing finale but it adds an ominous tease. It’s not a clear improvement but it makes more sense for the film.

As for the deleted/alternate scenes, they mix a little character material with some violence/language that probably didn’t fly for “PG-13”. None of them seem memorable.

We also locate three brief featurettes: “You Messed With the Wrong Sisters” (2:53), “The (Re)making of a Cult Classic” (3:50), and “Welcome to Mu Kappa Epsilon” (1:50). Across these, we hear from Takal, Poots, co-writer April Wolfe, producer Jason Blum, and actors Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady, Cary Elwes and Lily Donoghue.

The featurettes cover story, characters and themes, the source and its adaptation, and Takal’s take on the material. “Welcome” offers a promo piece, albeit one that seems more clever than usual.

As for the other two, they lack depth due to their brevity. Still, they give us a few decent notes, even if they don’t come with much room to tell us much.

The disc opens with ads for Sweetheart, Don’t Let Go and Parasite. No trailer for Christmas appears here.

Don’t expect the third time to be the charm, as Version Three of Black Christmas becomes a total dud. A clumsy mix of “MeToo” and violence, the film executes none of its elements in a satisfying manner. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio along with a decent selection of bonus materials. Maybe someone can make a good Black Christmas someday, but the 2019 edition stinks.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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