You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get with remakes. Sometimes in the case of Psycho it’s a shot-f0r-shot remake or with efforts such as Black Christmas and even to an extent Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street you get a film that keeps elements from the original but tries to venture out on its own.
Whether they succeed is another matter though.
The 1974 original told the story of a sorority house terrorised by ‘Billy’ a mysterious killer who made harrassing phonecalls and lived in the attic of the house.
Here his story is a lot more ‘fleshed out’ so to speak, as he is given a full name, a face and a back story; things that were lacking from the original. These were elements like in Halloween, that made the killer a lot more scary as his motive and any sort of personality were unclear.
It felt as if we knew the 101 guide to Billy before he had even broke out of the mental asylum he was being kept in.
Throughout the film we are also shown a series of flashbacks of his childhood that bring his story from birth to the present day, and you can pretty much telegraph his moves from here. Or so we think, as his in-bred sister/daughter Agnes is a new character introduced, and makes the whodunnit element minorly intriguing for around 20 minutes or so.
Clocking in at around 80 minutes long, Black Christmas just has too much story to attemp to squeeze into its small frame, and thus it suffers from clutter.
It’s entertaining enough, and very gory in parts (not for anyone squeamish about eye removal) but is nowhere near the chilling standards set by the original.