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Despite the very obvious spoilers that dictated whether or not movie goers should see Black Christmas, I went ahead and saw it anyway. I was sort of on the fence at first, but I really love the original and I wanted to give this one a full chance. I'm so freaking glad that I did. 

OPENING THOUGHTS:

DIRECTION:

What I like the most about this film is that once it really gets going, Takal pushes it over the edge. It’s exciting to see a director own that and have a powerful message to match it. With a story so deeply rooted in reality, the film does have a hard time letting go of that seriousness in a timely manner. However, when it revealed its true form, I melted. The kills were fun and the cloaked figure fit great anywhere it popped up. I just wish it got that R rating. All I want for Christmas is to see that dance number in one take, swear word and all.

PLOT:

After receiving anonymous threatening text messages, sorority sisters of MKE are caught in a deadly home invasion over winter break. They must fight together to put an end to it and uncover the truth of who has it out for them. 

 

The first two acts kind of blend together, which makes the bulk of the runtime seem long. There are heavy themes surrounding sexual assault as well as female empowerment that the 1974 film, ahead of it’s time, lays the groundwork for in some ways. I thoroughly enjoyed how the story comes full circle with all the fun surprises along the way.

ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:

Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady, and Lily Donahue collectively portray a strong sister bond that I'm not sure I've ever seen in a sorority movie before. I immediately sensed their overall dynamic and was able to relate to them each as individuals in one way or another. Cary Elwes as Professor Gelson was a real treat whilst making his villainous on-screen presence feel all around icky.

VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:

MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:

I have to say, the only subtle thing about this film is its sound design. It doesn’t do a whole lot besides build tension when the film needs you to feel it. This made the stabbing music at times feel like an overkill to its visual. Other than that, the score was very quiet, making it feel slightly more like a drama rather than a horror.

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

I love the use of dim Christmas lights contrasted with the white snow and houses. I also love the lights throughout the girls' house and their incorporation into the frame as much as humanly possible. For example, when Riley's silhouette steps into a doorway with the tree and string lights illuminating the space she fearfully steps into. The visuals are also packed with symbolism, with the snow angel and the gargoyles being some of my favorites.

For me, this is a film that cannonballs itself into madness in the most beautiful way possible. It’s about how these women come together to take down a toxic patriarchy wreaking havoc on them whilst taking a jab at the political lengths it goes to. We have decades worth of classic horror films that target and punish helpless female characters for walking home alone and being sexual, mostly not told from the female’s perspective. It’s been discussed in lecture halls, books, twitter threads, etc. for years. But once the perspective is a woman’s, and a film goes on to punish evil individuals who just happen to be men, people lose their minds. Perhaps the mainstream genre isn’t quite ready for the tables to be flipped like that, but I applaud the filmmakers for having the tits to do it anyway.

CONCLUSIVE VERDICT:

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                          "If I Were Missing, I’d Want You To Unleash The Bloodhounds And Track Me Down.”

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Movie Review

CASUAL

 Written By Tiffany McLaughlin

Published: 12.18.19

 MPAA: PG13

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Edited By McKayla Hockett

Release: 11.13.19

     Genre: Horror. Mystery. Thriller.

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