Aleyse ShannonBen Black...
HorrorMystery & Suspense...
In 1 Cinema
If you are a horror fan, you’ll probably remember the hard time the female character gave us as you screamed at her not to go down that dark alley or into that basement? For some reason in horror films, a female character has always been depicted as a naïve or silly teenage girl. Breaking from the norm, Black Christmas updates the genre with a hint of modern feminism. But does it offer anything else?
Black Christmas follows four sorority girl besties, including rape victim Riley (Imogen Poots) and feminist and activist Kris (Aleyse Shannon), as they spend a night on campus during the winter break when most of the students have gone home. Having pulled a prank on a fraternity that supports rape culture, the girls start receiving threatening texts. When some of their friends start going missing, they no longer feel safe. Riley fears it might be the man she accused – but wasn’t believed – of raping her, but the truth she finds is much more sinister.
If you strip the plot down to basics, it is a slasher movie in its classic form. However, what is new is that the film attempts to update the genre by adding modern feminist concepts. While the noble intention delivers freshness to a genre that does no justice to female characters, the concept of feminism is both superficially and randomly thrown throughout the film. The film also taps on related topics, like consent, toxic masculinity, and natural gender hierarchy, yet in a forced, seemingly dutiful manner.
The progression of the plot itself was a bumpy road with heavy reliance on text messages to push matters forward. The pace of the plot starts slowly before the real “action” begins more than halfway through the film. At just after the one-hour mark of the 90-minute feature, Black Christmas turns into a total mess; it takes a ridiculous turn, leaving audiences thinking what in the world is happening and who’s ridiculous idea is this? None of the events in that last half-hour are either believable, cohesive, or at all rational.
For the acting, Imogen Poots gave a good performance as a victimised woman, and Aleyse Shannon was plausibly feisty as activist, Kris. However, both performances were let down by the lousy script and chunky flow of the plot.
Black Christmas may have good intentions, but, unfortunately, the end result is neither scary, profoundly feminist, or even entertaining.