14 Days of Christmas Horror | Black Christmas (2019)

We guide you through 14 days of Christmas Horror. This time, we delve into the feminist horror of 2019’s Black Christmas. 

black christmas sophia takal (1)

‘Tis may be the season for romantic comedies set in idyllic English cottages or whimsical tales of elves lost in New York, but if you’re in the mood for something a little more gory, we’ve got your back.

We guide you through 14 days of Christmas Horror. This time, we delve into the feminist horror of 2019’s Black Christmas

Has any other genre been quite so oversaturated with remakes as horror? The quality has varied from absolutely dreadful (Fantasy Island) to improving on the original (Suspiria), but one seems to divide audiences more than any other horror remake so far. 

1974’s Black Christmas already received its mandatory, early-2000s remake in 2006, but another one came in 2019. Directed with blazing fury by Sophia Takal, Black Christmas (2019) had very little to do with the original than its basic setting. 

A group of sorority sisters are targeted by a serial killer in all three versions of the narrative, but 2019’s version is also a biting take on toxic masculinity and a damning look at patriarchy and rape culture in the US college setting. 

black christmas imogen poots

Credit: Universal Pictures

More than anything, Black Christmas was angry. Many took offence to how it took on misogyny head on, but it also said all the things out loud that many other films didn’t have the guts to. Arriving a couple of years after the #MeToo movement took off, Black Christmas set out to amplify the original themes of the 1974 film. 

In other words, the 2019 Black Christmas takes the bull by the horns. It’s almost gleeful in its quite literal smashing of the patriarchy. Takal, who also wrote the co-wrote script, is also particularly interested in how this toxic behaviour is passed down from generation to generation. We won’t go into spoiler territory here, but while the ending of the film can come across as daft on the surface level, it also holds some thematic weight. 

But we’re all watching these films because we want to see some good kills. Black Christmas doesn’t do anything particularly brutal, but the kills are effective. Their effectiveness stems from the fact that it’s almost solely the women who are killed and mutilated. Takal does not need to go down the Saw route, these women have suffered enough. 

Imogen Poots shines in the lead role of Riley, who is your typical Final Girl, a term coined by Carol J. Clover in her 1992 book ‘Men, Women and Chain Saws’ to describe the sole female survivor of most horror films. Black Christmas doesn’t seek to isolate Riley as a sole protagonist, but focuses on creating an empowering narrative for women. The surviving women do so specifically because they stick together. 

black christmas

Credit: Universal Pictures

Horror has always been female. Just look at films like Alien, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, the list is endless. Black Christmas is a rallying cry for solidarity among women and no horror film is quite as justifiably angry as Takal’s, which is why it’s one of our Christmas horror picks. 

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