A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this holiday-themed horror remake isn't for kids. Although most of the grisly violence is implied rather than explicit, there's no shortage of spattering blood and jump scenes. Sorority house sisters are murdered one by one with weapons including knives, Christmas lights, a pointy Christmas ornament, and a glass unicorn figurine. The film also includes scenes of implied incest, online porn, vomiting, decapitation, bloody slicks on the floor, the consumption of human flesh cooked into Christmas cookie shapes, and human eyeballs being ripped out and eaten. Characters also smoke cigarettes, drink wine, and use lots of foul language (at least 30 "f--ks").
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's Christmas Eve, and sorority sisters Kelli (Katie Cassidy), Heather (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Dana (Lacey Chabert), and Melissa (Michelle Trachtenberg) are pondering their upcoming holiday on campus. House mother Mrs. Mac (Andrea Martin) regales her charges with the story of the house's previous inhabitant, Billy Lenz (Robert Mann). Flashbacks illustrate his terrible life: Jaundiced as a child and reviled by his chain-smoking, alcoholic mother, he ends up killing his family and is incarcerated in a sanitarium. When Billy escapes, he returns to his old home and creates bloody heck -- he's especially fond of decapitating and de-eyeballing his victims, then eating their flesh and corneas.
Is it any good?
Gruesome and bleak, Black Christmas is a particularly uninspired slasher film remake. Except for the addition of flashbacks and back story (which end up detracting from the scares rather than enhancing them), the story is essentially the same as Bob Clark's 1974 original. But Glen Morgan's not-so-new version is slow-moving, unsurprising, and very, very bloody.
The formula, treated so carelessly, is tiresome: Each girl reveals early on a rudimentary reason why she might "deserve" her upcoming abuse and Billy's story is one we've heard too many times before: Bad mom makes bad son. In addition, the gore is rendered with slurpy sound effects and jarring close-ups in lieu of characterization.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the movie, like many modern horror flicks, gives its psycho killer a terrible childhood (the original version doesn't touch on that). How is Billy's mother blamed for her son's subsequent bad behavior? Is what he does less wrong because of how he grew up? Why is it so important to have a specific cause to blame for his behavior?
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