This festive fright-fest was a pleasant surprise from what I was originally expecting. This is another horror remake [ from the people behind ‘Final Destination’ – great film ], but un-like so many others; it did manage to come up trumps ; like ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ this may be a remake of Bob Clarke’s 1974 classic slasher flick, ‘Black Christmas’ ; which essentially came 4 years before John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’. Some fans lay claim that it was the original slasher flick.
From the outside, this looks like just another of your basic ‘there’s a psycho hacking up a bunch of pretty girls, who are running up the stairs instead of the door,’ and to a certain extent that’s correct, it’s the way this is conveyed which is fascinating and captivating to watch.
The tale : demented killer, Billy Lenz, escapes his psychiatric ward and is driven to make it to his childhood home, where he was abused, by Xmas . Problem is, it is years on and the home is now a Sorority house. It’s Yuletide Eve and a who’s who of teen/horror girl stars are there to greet him, including Melissa [ Michelle Trachtenberg, ‘Buffy the vampire slayer’ fame ], Heather [ Mary Elizabeth Winstead, ‘Final Destination 3′ ], Dana [ Lacey Chabert, ‘Mean Girls’ ] and Kelli [ Katie Cassidy, ‘When a stranger calls’ remake. ] This movie is essentially good, it’s got a consistent sense of being watched that runs right through it and adds a sparkle to the scares, and the tension is kept high. The actresses, though spouting some terrible lines on occassion, also say some good ones. The acting is good, and because most of the leading ladies are stars, and most of them horror stars, the audience doesn’t guess which one is about to make it to the rolling credits.
The story-line builds well, and there’s a mounting tension, as the killer first telephones the girls, and then starts to get rid of them. An identical storyline to the original ‘Halloween’, with a killer coming home for the holidays, there are many similar P.O.V shots of the killer, watching the girls throughout the house. The Xmas theme bleeds in nicely with the plot, and it comes across in places [ particularly, the flash-backs to Billy Lenz’s childhood ] like something, director, Tim Burton, would conjure up. The film gets darker and darker as we move through it, with some extraordinarily violent scenes, and the music by Shirley Hiker is great; capturing horror and Yuletide all in one twisted melody.
Also, the employment red and green lighting throughout [ owed to Christmas ] is awfully cool, and creates a great atmosphere. Due to it being set in a Sorority house, and this no longer being 1974, some of the dialogue just doesn’t cut it. I can’t imagine plenty of these girls’ staying in the house with a demented serial killer, simply because they can’t find their ‘sorority sister,’ plausible in 2007 unhappy, but true.
There is, unfortunately, the obligatory shower scene, but it is used for scares, not thrills, and so works. Right from the start you can tell, this isn’t your usual run of the mill slasher, it basically has a back story, and we do find ourselves caring for some of the characters, as an example, Kelli, played by Katie Cassidy is great; plus if you hated ‘Dawn’ in ‘Buffy the vampire slayer’ you are gonna love this movie.