Blumhouse Productions has a killer racket going.
Crank out low-budget horror films with mostly no-name stars and rake in the cash. It’s smart, it’s effective and it usually works like gangbusters.
That’s not happening with the studio’s latest effort, “Black Christmas.”
The second remake of the 1974 slasher credit hoped to eke out $10 million for its opening weekend. That’s solid enough to help recoup costs and pave the way for a modest box office run.
Instead, “Black Christmas” is expected to earn a mere $4.5 million during its opening frame. That’s only part of the bad news for the film co-starring Imogen Poots as a rape survivor fighting an unknown killer.
FAST FACT: “Black Christmas” co-writer April Wolfe says the Brett Kavanaugh hearings partly inspired her to pen the horror remake.
The film earned a ghastly D+ rating from CinemaScore, the outfit that polls opening weekend movie goers for their gut reactions. That suggests word of mouth ticket sales will be soft, and that’s being kind.
Critics savaged the movie, too.
The film’s RottenTomatoes.com score stands at 43 percent, but those recommending the film are doing so mostly from a pro-woke perspective. Here’s a “rave” from the New York Times:
Sophia Takal’s film isn’t particularly scary, but it has plenty on its mind.
The film’s trailer and marketing pitch suggested a lecture-filled presentation.
And, by all accounts, the film delivered.
— A. G. Macdonald (@AG_Macdonald) December 14, 2019
The progressive film site RogerEbert.com employed a critic who admits to being both friends and working partners with “Black Christmas” co-writer April Wolfe.
Shockingly, the site’s review is mostly positive.
Others, like far-left critic Roger Moore, are trashing the movie in no uncertain terms.
Or would be if “Black Christmas” wasn’t the worst-directed horror movie in recent memory. There is no suspense, no time allowed to summon up terror, no novelty to the killings. And those elements I mentioned that “set up” the story? They make for the most excruciatingly dull first hour, and nothing that follows can atone for that.
The Times UK gets even tougher.
Well, this is radical. I don’t mean remaking Black Christmas, the cult sorority slasher film of 1974, with a spurious Me Too theme. That’s just cynical. The last remake was in 2006, for crying out loud — it’s getting almost as bad as general elections. No, what’s radical is the idea of making a horror movie without scares or gore. Towards the end of Sophia Takal’s film, one of the students asks: “Why isn’t there blood?” Well, quite. While we’re at it, why isn’t there any jeopardy? Or even a cursory attempt at surprising us with the identity of the killer?
The film caps a year where woke cinema spectacularly failed with audiences. Think “Long Shot,” “Booksmart,” “Late Night,” “Terminator: Dark Fate,” “Last Christmas” and “Charlie’s Angels.”
Audiences are in no mood for lectures disguised as entertainment. Will 2020 deliver more of the same? Hollywood can’t turn on a dime like a fancy race car. Films take years to develop, shoot and release.
That means the new year could have even more bombs waiting for audiences to ignore.