We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Funny that the maniac in the holiday gorefest Black Christmas has a taste for tearing people’s eyes out—it might just make you wish the guy would pay you a visit not long after the opening credits roll. Sadly, writer-director Glen Morgan’s remake of 1974’s original isn’t even the worst horror movie of recent months; that doesn’t mean, however, that your mind won’t wander to less mundane activities, such as cleaning up every last pine needle dropped by your bone-dry Christmas tree. Morgan, who has done some fine, funny work as the scripter for Final Destinations 1 and 3 and as the writer-director for 2003’s Willard, has whiffed here in adapting and adding to Roy Moore’s old screenplay. Billy (Robert Mann) is the dude who makes the young girls cry, an escaped mental patient (aren’t they all?) who wears not a mask but a jaundiced face from the liver disease that made his mother (Karin Konoval) hate him. (Perhaps the caricatured boozehound was hoping she’d given birth to a future donor.) This family 411 is already more background than the first movie offered, but it goes on—and on and on. Different characters are tasked with long, awkward expositions about the freak who once was kept locked in the attic of the very house where a bunch of blank sorority sisters are currently ho-ho-ho-ing. (Among the recognizable actors are Lacey Chabert and Michelle Trachtenberg, though it should be said that the cast is uniformly bad.) But a hole can only be filled so much. Really, do you need to know anything else once a murderer is shown baking a family member’s flesh into Christmas cookies? Worse than hearing about Billy’s entire permanent record are master-of-the-obvious lines such as “He’s in the attic!” (after somebody, while pointing upward, twice calls the cell phone of one of the missing that can be heard up above them) and typical but too ridiculously drawn slasher-movie clichés, such as the bad guy’s apparent teleporting abilities and targets who are way, way dumber than usual. Morgan does get a bronze-plated star for pulling off a few creepy visuals of the stalker and, well, actually that’s about it.