Review: Black Christmas (2019)

Spoiler Discussion

1. Well that third act was something else. We finally get a discussion of how problematic it was for Kris (Aleyse Shannon) to use Riley’s story as part of “the movement” and then randomly it’s ruined by a frat who is being mind controlled by an evil black goo made by the black magic of some super evil straight white guy that wants to put women in their place. Yikes. It sounds like a bad Tumblr meme. Literally any nuance the movie had is lost – all the men were evil only because of evil goo – the move not only provides the scummy frat members with an excuse for their behavior (which makes their burning feel weird) but also makes the battle a supernatural one instead of a cultural one.

The moment could have been partially redeemed if Landon (Caleb Eberhardt) had done something, proving in a metaphorical sense that “boys will be boys” isn’t an excuse and that even problematic ideology can be cast aside via ones own volition. The camera even shows his fists struggling – but we never see anything happen because of it. All we get is his excuse that “it wasn’t really him.” Showing the moment would have made it so much more powerful.

In regards to the discussion at hand- it gets resolved by Riley functionally agreeing that fighting is correct. That’s an awful way to gloss over an important and nuanced discussion on how much we owe to movements and the way that movements can similarly violate our autonomy in despicable ways. It’s reduced to a simple – we did what we needed to do which is boring. See what I mean? Missed potential.

2. The action direction is also really bad in the third act. The rapid cuts, uneven camera movement, lack of any real choreography, and hyper pacing make it hard to watch. I thought the movie would either be really aesthetic about the kills ( like the first one) or bloody and over the top – but we never reach the levels of the former and the latter never happens in a satisfying way.

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