Friday, December 24, 2010

Black Christmas (1974)

Good horror movies differ from bad ones more in the moments that aren't scary than those that are.  It's the time between the deaths and bloodshed that develop tone and build characters we care about, thus giving their deaths meaning.

A good horror movie cherishes these moments, making the most of every second.  Black Christmas, on the other hand, does not.  The characters remain dull, often coming across as being as bored with the movie as I was.  Time drags between killings.  Which isn't to say the deaths are all that interesting, either: by and large, they're as ridiculous and slow-paced as the rest of the film.

As far as the plot's concerned, logic is a stranger to this film.  A sorority girl disappears, and the police conduct a thorough search of the park.  But not the house she lived in.  If they'd bothered to look there, they'd have found her body in the attic.  Along with the killer.

It's not so much that the movie is absurd that bothers me: it's that they try to pass laziness off as terror.  Who's the killer?  We don't know.  Who are the suspects?  There's only one, and he winds up being a red herring (presumably: the ending is a tad ambiguous).

Ambiguity is fine, but only when used well.  I have a great deal of respect for movies that use this tool to deliver multiple endings simultaneously (Total Recall being a prime example: because we're never told which interpretation is real, the movie effectively fits several endings into a single scene).  But Black Christmas uses it as an excuse to offer nothing: no explanation, no resolution, nothing.  Just an hour and a half of characters we don't care about marching closer to their deaths at the hands of some unseen killer.

Who cares?  This one was a waste of time.

Oh, yeah.  One more thing.

Merry Christmas.

No comments :

Post a Comment