'Black Christmas'

As with 2006's deviled-ham rehashing of The Omen, this stocking-snuffer remake of Bob Clark's nasty, unusually effective 1974 shocker seems to have been mandated by its December 25 release date: The product itself isn't so much afterthought as afterbirth—a bloody mess to be dumped discreetly. The proto-slasher original had a hidden psycho terrorizing sorority girls (including a pre-SCTV Andrea Martin) over an anything-but-merry Christmas break; the remake retains Martin, in a largely laughless house-mother role, but adds everything the first film was smart enough to skip—half-wit motivations, an elaborate backstory for the villain, and ridiculous, gory killings by icicle, candy cane, and (holy Tennessee Williams!) glass unicorn. (Attention, schlock-horror trendspotters: Eyeball-squishing is the new finger-snipping.) Black Christmas lacks the timing and visual wit to make its splattery EC Comics gags either genuinely scary or funny—as silly as it may sound to carp about nuance when you're talking human-flesh gingerbread men.

 
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