#254 -- 13 Days of Creepmas Day 8: Black Christmas (2006)
Director: Glen Morgan
I have officially changed my opinion of the original Black Christmas. It was only a couple of days ago that I watched it, so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. I remember the problems I had with it, but none of those issues seem valid any longer. This just goes to show that a higher budget and better effects doesn't always make a better movie.
This is going to have some spoilers because I'm assuming, if you're reading this, you've already seen the original. If you haven't, then you should, and this review won't really ruin too much of the original for you. Okay, so there's sorority girls getting murdered. That much doesn't change. But it's different from the original in almost every other way.
Let's try something different today and make a list. So, here are the ways that it differs from the original.
1) I was on the lookout for the very first kill in the movie. In the original, it was the "virgin" character, and she was suffocated in her closet. I couldn't really tell which murder was supposed to resemble that one, except for..all of them. The only time someone wasn't suffocated was when they had their eyes gouged out. These two things did play a part in the story, though, so I guess it's okay.
2) You'll remember that, in the original, we knew absolutely nothing about the killer, Billy. And I mean, nothing. Aside from the fact that he was crazy, of course. But this one starts off with telling us all about him. So we really do get a look into his mind and memories, perhaps a little too much (most notably when he was raped by his mother, creating an inbred spawn that would grow up to help him kill the sorority sisters. That would be the mysterious "Agnes," by the way). Oh, and Billy had some sort of liver disease that caused him to be born with yellow skin. Does this play an important role in the story? No, not really. The only thing I could get was that was the reason that his mother hated him. Maybe. Or maybe they just thought he'd be scarier if he was yellow? I really have no fucking clue why they decided on taking that route. It honestly makes no sense whatsoever. But who am I to question their motives?
3) There was no red herring in this one. In the original, we were made to believe that it was Jess's boyfriend killing the girls and making the weird phone calls. But here, we knew right off the bat who was doing it. I did see something that seemed like an attempt to throw us off, but it was a terrible attempt and only lasted for two seconds.
4) It wasn't able to build suspense like the original one, I think mostly because we knew everything about Billy within ten minutes of the movie. They all had cell phones, and a caller ID, so when the phone calls came, they automatically knew they were coming from their friends' phones...inside the house. So there was no, "Oh shit, he's here!" moment.
5) In the original, Billy's phone calls were disturbing and terrifying. Not here. They consisted mostly of, "she's my family now," and "I'm going to kill you." Whoop de freakin' doo da. He did change voices occasionally, but it was nothing like the original. Where, originally, the phone calls were the most interesting and terrifying aspect, in this one I just didn't care. About anything.
6) They actually decided to check the attic for their missing friends!
Let's talk a little more about Billy, since that's really the only thing worth noting. So, he was born yellow, we got that. His mother hated him, and she hated her husband as well. She and her lover decided to kill her husband by suffocating him with a trash bag. Billy witnessed this murder, and so his loving mommy locked him up in the attic (which explains, I guess, why he decided to lock everyone up there.) One night, Billy's mom and stepdad were getting busy on the staircase, and the guy fell asleep. Angry, but still horny, his mom went up to the attic and got some from him. Nine months later, Agnes arrived. Mom loved Agnes, for whatever reason. When Billy realized that other children (including his sister) had a normal Christmas, while he was stuck in the attic, he lost his marbles and decided to kill everyone. He succeeded with mom and stepdad, but Agnes got away with just a missing eye.
Oh, another thing that's different: there are two killers. Yep. When you see someone get suffocated with a trash bag, that's Billy. Missing eye? That's Agnes' handy work. Agnes grew up to be one ugly bitch who looked an awful lot like a man--probably because she was played by a man. There were no cops. No John Saxon to save the day. Just Harriet the Spy, one of the "Mean Girls," and a bunch of other characters no one cares about. Even the "Barb" character, who stayed drunk the entire time, wasn't entertaining.
I now have a better appreciation for the original movie. Then, I thought knowing nothing about Billy was a problem. Now I see that it was better that way. Maybe if they had created a better character for him in the remake (one who wasn't yellow for no reason), it could have been better. I couldn't feel sorry for him; I couldn't be angry with him. I just didn't care. The only thing I could do is wonder why in the hell he was yellow. Seriously, what the fuck?
So, this is a remake I can honestly say was far worse than the original. But I'll give it some thanks for making me realize how good the 1974 movie was.