Tag Archives: Sophia Takal

Review: Black Christmas (2019)

Theatrical Review Poster

Earlier this October, I ended up watching Green Room for my horror movie marathon . I loved Imogen Poots performance in the movie (it stood out to me), so when I saw that she was going to lead a fun looking slasher flick, I had to go ahead and watch it. When the movie started I was enthusiastic and don’t get me wrong- I liked a lot of moments. However, I was left disappointed by the ending and the abundance of missed opportunities. This movie had real potential and squanders it by throwing nuance and subtlety out of the window in favor of an absurd resolution that actively hurts the movies themes and renders character arcs dissatisfying.

Poots plays Riley, a sorority member who’s recovering from trauma. The film is incredibly topical and deals with a lot of issues regarding rape culture and the treatment of assault on campuses. The look into sorority life and mixed feelings about what sisterhood entailed are interesting and well established at the beginning of the film. Poots is great and portrays the struggle she faces with a genuine sincerity that makes rooting for Riley natural. Cary Elwes is hilarious in his campy over the top role as Professor Gelson. His introduction is great ( in an awful kind of way) and I liked it. He’s also the only redeemable part about the third act so credit is due.

Early kills are also shot well. Yes, they’re obvious and the set up doesn’t feel unique or awe inspiring, but they’re well executed. The first death in the movie, set my expectations high with how aesthetically nice it was in both the manner of kill and the way the body was placed versus the environment. The deaths that follow are well set up but never reach the same highs as the first one. The film does a great job of establishing the real fear women face everyday. The fear of walking down a street with an innocuous fellow coming down behind you. Even if he’s just out and about and doesn’t mean anything, there’s a palpable fear about the “what if”. Moments like this are littered in the first two acts of the movie and present a horror story grounded in a real kind of feminist critique.

Unfortunately, all this subtlety is thrown away by the third act and the interesting themes about empowerment vs martyrdom vs autonomy get completely sidelined. It’s disappointing because it feels like the movie wants to be and feel “woke” in the most neoliberal way, so it sacrifices nuance to just preach common and boring tropes. This is a topic that requires nuance and subtlety – something I thought the beginning of the movie hinted at, but I was woefully off. To say I was sad with how everything ended is an understatement.

Rating

TLDR: A bag of missed opportunities that settles for being just above mediocre. I didn’t hate watching this movie, but the ending definitely took me out of a lot of it , which is a shame because I actually enjoyed a few moments early on.

Final Rating: 6.6/10. If you want an okay slasher with some nuanced and nice moments , I’d give this movie a check out. The third act is a huge disappointment but I still had an okay enough time in spite of it.

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!