Blumhouse’s Black Christmas remake is already looking very different to the original film, judging by the trailer. Bob Clark’s slasher Black Christmas was released in 1974 and is considered by many as one of the earliest slasher films, and it was a big influence on another slasher classic: John Carpenter’s Halloween.
Black Christmas wasn’t well received by critics in the beginning, but throughout the years it has earned a cult following and much better reviews. The film is inspired by the urban legend “the babysitter and the man upstairs” (which has been used in other films such as When a Stranger Calls) and was remade in 2006, but received mostly negative reviews. Now, a new version of Black Christmas is coming with Sophia Takal as director, but the film doesn’t exactly follow the same line as the original one.
Clark’s Black Christmas followed a group of sorority sisters who received threatening calls from a man who called himself “Billy”, and who eventually stalked and killed them, all this during Christmas season. Black Christmas stood out because it never revealed the identity of the killer, making it suspenseful and actually frightening, but this new version is taking a different route. Blumhouse’s take is also focused on a group of sorority girls, but they are ready to fight back. That’s not bad at all (on the contrary, it’s a good spin on the “damsel in distress”/”final girl” trope), but the trailer showed too much, including quite possibly the twist of the story, which is nothing like the one in the original film: this time, it looks like there’s a cult in school.
As seen in the first trailer for Black Christmas, Hawthorne College was an all-men school until 1969, and fraternities are not exactly what they seem. Professor Gelson (Cary Elwes) says that “sacrifices have been made” to keep their traditions alive, so it all points at this version not keeping the identity of the killer a secret. Of course, there’s also the possibility that the actual twist of the film wasn’t revealed in the trailer, even though it looks like it, and that there’s more mystery to it than just a fraternity/cult with gory traditions.
Black Christmas is, arguably, one of those slasher films that don’t need a remake, but with the recent success of films like Child’s Play and the reboot of Halloween, it’s not surprising that horror remakes are still happening (and will continue to for a while). Hopefully, there’s still more to discover in this new Black Christmas than what the trailer showed.