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Black Xmas (2006)

If ever there was a film that would perfectly summarise the 2000's decade of slasher horror, 'Black Xmas' would undoubtedly be that film. Featuring an overly attractive cast with terrible fashion sense, some wildly stereotypical character tropes along with some awful decision making and a classic familiar story taken and tonally amped up beyond recognition. It is certainly not film making at its best, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't enjoyable to just switch off and go along for the ride. With regard to the acting quality of this film, I found everyone does a more than competent job with the script that they are given, that is with the slight exception of one or two characters. Katie Cassidy takes on the task of lead final girl Kelli and I personally found her to be great in this role. As someone who is a fan of Cassidy as an actress from shows such as 'Arrow', it was nice to see her in a lead role in a big budget production. Disappointingly, one of the most underutilised actors in this film is Mary Elizabeth Winstead, I feel her screen time was rather limited and I would have like to have seen more from her. The biggest failings in the casting department is that of Kristen Cloke who plays Leigh, the sister looking for missing Clair. Her performance is like something from a 'Pink Panther' sketch, so extremely cartoonish. This does ease off after a while but her introduction is genuinely insufferable to watch. I will say if eye mutilation is a trigger point, than this film is certainly not going to be for you. The kills sequences throughout 'Black Xmas' are very repetitive and uninspiring and although this does come full circle in the last act and the constant eye mutilation does serves a purpose, it just felt boring after the first one or too scenes. That's not so say that any of the scenes look particularly bad, in fact the effects work is rather impressive. Yes, there is some heavy CGI in places but this film appears to have the budget to back up it up its use in a way most horror slashers don't. One if the biggest issues I have with this film and many other 2000's horror movies in general is there lack of intuition on when and where to end the film. 'Black Xmas' falls victim to this troupe, having multiple fake out endings in the last 15 minutes with the seemingly dead antagonist making a "not so surprise" return for one last kill in a seemingly safe location. This infuriated me to no end and a caused me to lose all interest in the closing act, this plot device never has the desired intention for me and just comes across as lazy writing. Along with the ending over staying its welcome I found that the overly insinuated multiple red herrings throughout this film also becomes rather tedious and is another example of the poor writing on display. As far as remake comparisons, I'd struggle to argue that's this is a better version of the 1974 classic. In fact, I think this is a rather insulting take on the original source material. That being said though, this certainly made for a much more entertaining watch than 'Black Christmas' 1974. As someone who doesn't hold the original in to high of regard, I found it quite easy to separate the two and just have fun with the version of the story that this film was telling. If you're a fan on 2000's slashers then I think there is a lot to enjoy here, for me there is just to many failing to suffer through in order to fully appreciate the momentary glimmers of quality.


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