Black Christmas Glen Morgan

Apparently this atrocity was not intended as a "remake” but a stab (no pun intended) at remodelling the 1974 proto-slasher film in order to give the original the credit it deserves. Or at least that’s what director Glen Morgan believes. It may help him sleep better at night thinking that, and there’s no doubt the original film still hasn’t received its just desserts, but this update is sure to do more harm than good. Set in a sorority house, a group of "sisters” wait around to head home for the holidays when a series of prank calls ruin their festive fun. They quickly determine that it’s the abused, jaundiced madman named Billy Lenz, who once lived in the house’s attic. From there the film takes massive, abrupt turns from the original’s plot, including an intrusive back-story that gives an explanation for Billy’s instability. Without revealing too much, the man likes to poke out eyeballs and cut cookies from the flesh of his dead momma and unsurprisingly, is impossible to kill. Did I mention there’s also a sister involved as well? What made Bob Clark’s 1974 film a classic was the uncertainty of the scenario: there was little known about the killer’s past and the first-person camera work not only kept his appearance a secret but gave him a menacing quality. Morgan’s script, which Clark somehow deems "brilliant” (did he not watch his own film?), uses exposition and never-ending, unnecessary twists and gore that eradicate every bit of tension the original built. A revision that would be hard to avoid in this day and age is changing the phone call from coming from a stranger from inside the house, which was a frightening thought in the pre-cellular age. However, cramming the house with sorority girls and their fancy cell phones immediately strips it of its terror and threatens to date the film. In one of the exhausting featurettes, actor Oliver Hudson says this flick will stand on its own but he’s clearly as deluded by his involvement in the picture as his co-star Katie Cassidy, who labels the film "artsy.” Right. Buffy alumnus Michelle Trachtenburg meets a much more gruesome demise in a deleted scene, but it’s still not enough to warrant watching the rest. Two alternate endings that don’t actually use the "defibrillator to the face” attack method end the film more smoothly, putting it out of its misery sooner and leaving room for that inevitable straight-to-DVD sequel that’s itching to be green-lit. According to metacritic.com, only Epic Movie received a lower average score from reviewers, and even though horror flicks tend to get the bum’s rush, I can honestly say that Black Christmas deserves every little negative word that was published about it. (Sony)