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Black Christmas

Review #7: Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas, a film that arguably has invented the slasher genre, and some other clichés that we're used to seeing now days.

Black Christmas is obviously set during the holidays, where a group of sorority girls are being harassed by a stranger who constantly keeps calling their house phone, if only they knew that the upcoming events are far more sinister than some petty threats over the phone.

This is one of my favourite horror films of all time, and what I absolutely adore about it is the creepy atmosphere it builds and keeps during the entire duration of the film. It is a low budget flick, therefore it isn't flashy with the effects or gore and I like that. The scares are very effective and creepy, even though some of them are subtle.

Bob Clark does a magnificent job as a director, the camera work is very interesting and well done, he also builds suspense excellently, it could also be debated that he was the one to influence other films in using the "killer POV" shots. Not to mention, the score is very eerie and it goes very well with the events.

The film introduces to us a kind of villain we rarely ever see in other horror movies, he calls himself "Billy" and the guy is clearly a psychopath, he keeps making disturbing noises whenever he calls the sorority girls on the phone, he also plays with his dead victims, and most importantly he remains unseen for the entirety of the movie. He is definitely one of the best parts of this Christmas tale.

Everyone in the film does their job and have a good enough performance, some shine and others...not so much. Olivia Hussey (Jess) does a great job playing her role, even though I still feel as though she over acts in a few of her scenes, but not to the point it takes you out of the movie. Margot Kitter, Marian Waldman and Douglan McGrath's characters serve as the comic relief and they are very appreciated. There are a bunch of characters that I feel as though the writers didn't know what to do with them, they tried to make them relevant at the beginning, then they just drop their significance at one point and they become a bunch of disposable mannequins.

My main issue with the film is the last confrontation; I don't mind open endings or films that leave you with more questions than answers in fact I love them, but in this case some explanation needs to be given or plotholes will be created, not to give anything away but there's a tiny "how convenient" moment at the end that left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Nonetheless, this is still a great horror film with an intriguing mystery, tasteful humour, and intense storytelling, it most definitely deserves an A-