🎃Oscar🎃’s review published on Letterboxd:
CW: sexual assault
sooo my initial plan was to review this on Christmas Day as a sort of treat for those sticking around to read my reviews who know that I'm a big fan of the original Black Christmas and know that I wasn't really keen on the 2006 remake. i had heard this one was terrible but i wanted to give it a chance regardless and see if it was deserving of the hate it was getting, and decided to review it the day before Christmas juuuuust incase i did not like it, because i want to review something on Christmas Day I actually like.
so uhhhh... this movie is completely awful. beyond just being a dumb, boring, suuuuper generic slasher flick, there's an extremely misguided and heavy handed social message that is being crammed down the throats of everyone watching so hard that it's almost comical, but mostly harmful. it actually pains me because it's not like i disagree with any of the points brought up here, they're just done in such a hamfisted manner that the movie kind of ruins it's own point through its terrible presentation. i'm a pretty progressive person but in terms of getting its point across this movie is bordering on God's Not Dead levels of forced messaging, with the focus instead being on female empowerment and feminism rather than religion.
full disclosure, i'm all for a girl power horror movie! it's partly why Death Proof is my favorite Tarantino film, and why i firmly believe that the horror genre in general can be one of the most empowering for women out there (when done right). so many classic horror films exist where women fight back against their aggressors in a way that feels earned and rewarding for the audience, and so many of the most iconic female protagonists in cinema have originated from the horror genre. the film wanting to empower women is not the problem here. it's how its handling was so insanely clunky that it actually ends up damaging the cause it claims to be fighting for.
a person who hates feminism could watch this movie and have all the ammunition they need to say "SEE? these damn SJW's think all men blah blah blah" and that fuckin' sucks.
i'm sure the folks that wrote this script had really great intentions but they could really use some 101's in self awareness and irony, because the story they've conceived here (which btw, has ZERO to do with the plot of the 1974 original but whatever) is insulting. not to get into the muck too much here, because personally i feel like it's not really my place to talk about a lot of this, but i drew serious issues with some of the handling of the topics explored in this movie.
creators of this film, you realize that by chalking up on-campus sexism and rape culture (which are genuinely brave and interesting themes to tackle through a horror movie) to a supernatural cult that CREATES that environment is an extremely simplistic and reductive way to handle the topic, right? you are aware how awful it is to watch a character in this film bully her friend to #BuildYourselfUpBitch and sing through PTSD trauma in front of her rapist IN THE DORM WHERE SHE WAS ASSAULTED which is INSANELY insulting and not even remotely close to being an empowering or inspiring moment like the film insists it to be, right?
THEN the icing on the cake is that the shitty friend uploaded the dance online to “empower women” which was such a slap in the face to our main character. I was thinking, "you asshole, you can’t force victims to use their assault in the way that you see fit." but to be fair, they have a big blowout fight about it when our main character finds out and I thought, "this is an interesting conflict at least, between a victim of sexual assault and a woman who's so wrapped up in The Cause she's lost sight of the human details."
But then at the end the rape victim says "You were right all along."
there was also a point where the main character says (after being attacked by a home invader) "We can't go to the police, they won't believe us. They didn't believe me..." not to open up a can of worms here, but verifying that a sexual assault took place is not the same thing as verifying that your friends were just killed by armed intruders. there was potential here for some kind of message about women being unable to turn to the authorities for help (which again, is an idea i would LOVE to see a smart interpretation of in a horror film), and the writers smothered it under several layers of unadulterated stupid. i get the point you were trying to make, but in context of the movie the scenario MAKES NO SENSE.
and look, it's not like i want to talk about this sort of thing in a review for a movie, but unfortunately there's really no way you can talk about this film without discussing it because that's all there is to it. the social commentary is all the movie has to offer. let's talk about the horror aspect of this horror film. every kill is dull, every scare is predictable and every set-piece or action scene is horrifically edited to the point of incoherence. no blood, no creativity, no fun. so i couldn't even enjoy it on that level.
yeah, i'm sorry Black Christmas '19, i know you meant well, but go fuck yourself. this movie was actually insanely disgusting in how it handled these topics. i absolutely hated it. so reductive, so boring, and so so so poorly written. i can respect the intent of this movie but in execution, it's nothing short of damaging to the very people it claims to want to protect, and that to me is unforgivable.
thank god i didn't review this on Christmas Day, cos that would have been a major bummer, huh? hopefully tomorrow we can lighten the mood a bit and i can talk about one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. anyway, crack open some eggnog, make yourself some warm pudding and watch something worth watching with people you love for this holiday season ! catch ya soon !