Black Christmas (R)

Horror 100 December 25th, 2006
By Jim Ridley
As with 2006's deviled-ham rehashing of The Omen, this stocking-snuffer remake of Bob Clark's nasty, unusually effective 1974 shocker seems to have been mandated by its release-date marketing hook: The product itself isn't so much afterthought as afterbirth -- a bloody mess to be dumped discreetly. The proto-slasher original had a hidden psycho terrorizing sorority girls (including Margot Kidder and a pre-SCTV Andrea Martin) over an anything-but-merry Christmas break. The remake retains Martin, in a largely laughless house-mother role, but adds everything the first film was smart enough to skip: half-wit motivations, an elaborate backstory for the villain, and ridiculous gory killings by icicle, candy cane, and (holy Tennessee Williams!) glass unicorn. (Attention, trend-spotters in schlock horror: Eyeball-squishing is the new finger-snipping.) You'd expect writer-director Glen Morgan, a sicko talent, to have no trouble channeling the giddy nihilism of his Final Destination movies in this bad-Santa milieu. But the movie lacks the timing and visual wit that would make its splattery EC Comics gags either genuinely scary or funny -- as silly as it may sound to carp about nuance when you're talking human-flesh gingerbread men and Christmas trees decked with eyeballs.
Glen Morgan Katie Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Michelle Trachtenbert, Oliver Hudson, Andrea Martin, Crystal Lowe, Kristen Cloke Glen Morgan Marty Adelstein, Marc Butan, Steven Hoban, Glen Morgan, Scott Nemes, Dawn Parouse MGM