For the second-time, Black Christmas received a reboot; however, this version was slightly different than the 1974 and 2006 features. The 2019 remake follows Riley and her sorority sisters, who’s being picked off one-by-one from a mysterious figure leaving a bloody trail everywhere he goes. Riley and her friends eventually band together and fight back against the murderous brute. Upon release, Black Christmas was met with scathing reviews from critics and audiences who trashed the film due to its overly feminist themes. Black Christmas ultimately bombed financially, earning only $4.4 million opening weekend and making $17.70 million by the end of its run. The film was far from a financial disaster since its was only $5 million to produce and was actually on par with the franchise as the original only made $4 million and the 2006 remake grossed a little over $21 million. Still, Black Christmas was a critical failure and topped many “worst of” lists in 2019. This article will go into depth on why the latest remake had such a bad reception.
The feminist theme beat audiences over the head. It’s not surprising at this point that feminist movies bomb at the box office. Again, Black Christmas made double its money back overall; however, $17.70 million is not a number to brag about. Black Christmas was an overly feminist movie. Yeah, yeah, there’s a female character that betrays her sorority for the bad guys, but even she’s killed because she doesn’t meet the objective of Professor Gelson’s plan: To make sure that men rule and dominate society once again. Seriously. There’s nothing wrong with exploring feminist themes. A movie tackling the subject of rape crimes in college could actually be very compelling. Promising Young Woman does this pretty damn well. However, the issue that Black Christmas and every feminist movie has is that they paint all men as powerful and evil beings. The only male character that doesn’t come across as cartoonishly evil is Landon, but he’s simply there to be the love interest for Riley. Plus, the themes actually ruin the climax of the film. It’s been established throughout the movie that most of the boys were possessed with black magic from some historical bust. When Riley destroys the bust, the black magic wears off (as demonstrated by Landon); however, the girls decide to light the entire building on fire and trap all the innocent boys except Landon. Is Sophia Takal really justifying the murder of innocent and nice guys who were possessed by black magic because they had penises?
The film had no problems loudly talking bad about men, yet the one decent rebuttal from Nate is shut down with gas lighting. Don’t get me wrong, Nate’s sudden evil outburst siding with the faternity was bad, but his statement on not all men being dominate was a fair point. Going back to Promising Young Woman, Cassie doesn’t blame all men for what happened to Nina and her crappy life. In fact, she forgives the defense lawyer who showed remorse and compassion for his sins. Filmmakers need to understand that trashing an entire gender for what a few men do is not an intelligent way to address this subject. Bad people exist on both sides of the spectrum. Do men get certain privileges in society? Yes, and Promising Young Woman does an excellent job of touching upon that theme.
Given how rushed this film was as the production started in June 2019, it’s easy to see why executives didn’t catch this because they clearly cared more about cashing in on a franchise that isn’t that popular to begin with. By plastering a film where all the women hate men, the female characters come across as extremely unlikeable. Most of the men also come across as extremely cartoonish because they have to fit an evil agenda. Black Christmas fails because it poorly tackles a very important social issue. Since it lacks any meaningful characters, audiences fail to connect with the material. There’s some decent kills; however, the PG-13 rating really restricts them. It’s clear that this was likely meant to be an R-rated feature as the editing is poorly done in most scenes. Since the film is stripped down, the kills aren’t that inventive and the gory efforts aren’t enough for people who love horror simply because of the bloody body count. Plus, the film isn’t even scary. Black Christmas heavily relies on jump scares that you can see coming a mile away. Black Christmas chooses it’s feminist themes over a proper horror story and that ultimately bites this film in the butt.