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Black Christmas (abbreviated as Black X-Mas) is a 2006 Canadian-American slasher film written and directed by Glen Morgan and starring Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Hudson, Lacey Chabert, Kristen Cloke, Crystal Lowe, and Andrea Martin. The film takes place several days before Christmas, and tells the story of a group of sorority sisters who are stalked and murdered by one of their house's former inhabitants during a winter storm. It is a loose remake of the 1974 film of the same name.

In December 2006, upon anticipation of its premiere, the film garnered some criticism from religious groups due to its graphic content in a holiday setting, as well as the distributor's decision to release the film on Christmas Day in the United States. The film opened in the United Kingdom on December 15, 2006, and, despite backlash from some religious organizations, opened in US theaters on Christmas Day, 2006 to enormously unfavorable reviews and is considered one of the worst movies of all time.

PlotEdit

The film starts at Delta Alpha Kappa, a sorority house preparing for the holiday season. One of the girls, Clair Crosby (Leela Savasta) is seen in her bedroom writing Christmas cards when she hears a noise in her closet. She investigates, but it turns out to be the air conditioner in her room. She sits back down on her bed to finish writing a card for her sister when an unseen figure suddenly throws a trash bag over head and stabs her in the eye with a pen. Meanwhile, at a local asylum, a guard is going to check on William Edward Billy Lenz, a notorious serial killer that butchered his family on Christmas 15 years prior. He finds a note from Billy stating that he will be home for Christmas. Billy then kills him with a sharpened candy cane, slaughters a mall Santa, and escapes the asylum.

Back at the house, we are introduced to the rest of the girls: Kelli Presley (Katie Cassidy), Dana Mathis (Lacey Chabert), Lauren Hannon (Crystal Lowe), Megan Helms (Jessica Harmon), Heather Lee-Fitzgerald (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Melissa Kitt (Michelle Trachtenberg), and Eve Agnew (Kathleen Kole), as well as their housemother Mrs. Mac (Andrea Martin). They are all trapped in the house for Christmas due to a severe blizzard, so they are passing the time by opening up Christmas presents, with the exception of Megan, who is angry because a sex tape of her and her ex-boyfriend Kyle Autry (Oliver Hudson), who is also Kelli's current boyfriend, has been posted online. She suddenly hears noises in the ceiling. Thinking it's one of the girls messing with her, she decides to investigate in the attic, where she sees Clair's dead body, the bag still on her head, propped up in a rocking chair by the window. Megan is then attacked with a trash bag and has her eyes ripped out.

Downstairs, it is revealed that it is a Delta Alpha Kappa tradition to buy a Christmas present for Billy Lenz, who used to live in the house before it became a sorority. After Heather tells them that she drew his name but she refused to go along with the tradition, Mrs. Mac tells them Billy's story: he was a boy in the early 70's who was born with severe jaundice due to a liver disease, and was constantly abused by his hateful mother. After murdering Billy's father with a trash bag and a hammer and then burying his body in the underground crawlspace with the help of her boyfriend, Mrs. Lenz locked Billy in the attic to prevent him from talking. Years later, she attempted to conceive a new baby but realized that her new man is impotent. She went up to the attic and raped 12-year-old Billy. Nine months later, a daughter named Agnes was born and treated like a princess by Mrs. Lenz. When Agnes was eight and Christmas came around, Billy escaped from the attic and disfigured Agnes by attacking her with a trash bag and gouging out her eye, eating it, and taunting his mother, saying "she's my family now." Billy then gruesomely killed her lover with a Christmas ornament through the head, and then strangled her with the Christmas lights, beat her dead body with a rolling pin, and made Christmas cookies out of her flesh. The police later arrived, finding Agnes still alive with her eye missing, and Billy eating his Christmas cookies, who was then sent to the mental asylum.

Back in present day, the girls get two mysterious and threatening phone calls from an unknown person. When a drunk Lauren provokes him, he tells them he's gonna kill them and hangs up. Melissa tries to report the scary calls, but the lines are temporarily dead. They then find out that the calls came from, respectively, Clair and Megan's cell phones. Kyle then arrives at the house through Megan's open bedroom window, scaring Kelli and Heather. He claims that he wants to be with Kelli for Christmas, but they begin to very heatedly argue when they investigate the missing Megan's bedroom and Kelli sees the sex tape on Megan's laptop. Back downstairs, Clair's half-sister Leigh (Kristen Cloke) soon arrives searching for her. The group finds a present under the Christmas tree to Delta Alpha Kappa from Billy. They open it, and it contains the doll Mrs. Lenz gave Agnes the night the murders happened. Heather suspects that Eve is behind it, due to her strange disappearance earlier and rumors that she may be obsessed with Billy due to her living in his old room. While investigating in Eve's room, Heather finds a huge portrait of Billy on her wall, as well as newspaper clippings of the murders and Megan's cell phone in her closet.

Meanwhile, Lauren starts puking due to excessive drinking, and Kelli and Kyle's argument worsens to the point where she dumps him and he leaves. Melissa has Lauren take a shower before she puts her to bed. Billy is then seen stalking her during her shower through a loose tile in the bathroom floor, but Lauren doesn't notice this. When the lights suddenly go out, Leigh tells Dana to go outside to the crawlspace, where the main fuse box is. She does as she's told, but encounters the figure under the house. She fights him, but is killed with a gardening tool to the head. The girls in the house receive another scary phone call, this time from Dana's cell phone, and hear a scream. They leave the house to find her, only for Kelli and Melissa to discover Dana's blood stains on the crawlspace trapdoor, while Heather and Leigh find Eve's decapitated head in her car.

When the police can't do anything due to the storm, Heather and Mrs. Mac immediately attempt to escape to the police station, but while Mrs. Mac is outside getting the ice off her windshield, Heather is subsequently killed while inside the car, and a terrified Mrs. Mac is stabbed through the head by a falling icicle. When Kelli and Leigh descend to the garage to investigate, Melissa is attacked by the killer with a trash bag. She escapes the bag and tries to get away from the killer through a window in one of the bedrooms, but the killer throws an ice skate and scalps her. Lauren is then molested by Billy in bed before being killed as well by being stabbed with a glass unicorn figurine by Agnes. After finding Mrs. Mac's blood splatters leaking through the garage door, Kelli and Leigh go back inside the house only to find Lauren dead with her eyes gouged out and Melissa missing. Kyle then arrives, claiming he is not the killer.

The three climb to the attic, where Kyle is smothered with a trash bag before being dragged into the attic and stabbed in the head. After the two girls find Clair's body in the rocking chair, as well as a Christmas tree decorated with Megan, Eve, and Melissa's bodies, limbs, and eyes, the killer is revealed to be Agnes, now an adult. Leigh soon falls through the attic floor, and after a brawl between Kelli and Agnes, knocking over some candles and starting a fire, Billy also makes his way into the attic, and Agnes and Kelli both fall in between the walls. Billy crawls into the space between the walls, and Kelli finds herself trapped between the two killers. She bangs on the walls, attracting Leigh's attention. Leigh grabs a dumbbell, races to the laundry room, and uses it to smash a large hole in the wall, allowing her to pull Kelli out and for them both to escape as the house burns down.

Later, Kelli and Leigh recover at the hospital. Leigh emotionally opens up Clair's present for her in front of Kelli, and it turns out to be a watch with the words FAMILY FOREVER imprinted on it. Unknown to them, Billy and Agnes are still alive. Billy kills a morgue attendant with a motorized surgical saw, and when Kelli leaves for an x-ray, Agnes appears, attacks Leigh and breaks her neck. When Kelli returns to her room, she finds the bloody watch. Immediately realizing something's wrong, she hits the emergency button, but nobody notices the monitor blinking due to Christmas carolers. Agnes then enters through the ceiling and attacks her as well but Kelli uses the defibrillator on Agnes's face and kills her; however, Billy immediately enters also through the ceiling and chases after Kelli. They end up in the stair-rail, where Kelli ends up pushing Billy over the edge where he is impaled on the tip of a Christmas tree, finally killing him, and Kelli is left to look in shock.

CastEdit

  • Katie Cassidy as Kelli Presley
  • Michelle Trachtenberg as Melissa Kitt
  • Kristen Cloke as Leigh Colvin
  • Crystal Lowe as Lauren Hannon
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Heather Lee-Fitzgerald
  • Oliver Hudson as Kyle Autry
  • Lacey Chabert as Dana Mathis
  • Andrea Martin as Mrs. Barbara MacHenry
  • Jessica Harmon as Megan Helms
  • Dean Friss as Agnes Lenz
  • Robert Mann as William "Billy" Lenz
  • Kathleen Kole as Eve Agnew
  • Leela Savasta as Clair Crosby
  • Karin Konoval as Mrs. Lenz
  • Howard Siegel as Billy's Stepfather
  • Michael Adamthwaite as Mall Santa
  • Ron Selmour as Security Guard
  • Peter Wilds as Franklin "Frank" Lenz
  • Jody Racicot as Morgue Attendant

ReleaseEdit

The film was released on Monday, December 25 (Christmas Day), 2006 in the United States and grossed $3,723,364 on its opening weekend. The film went on to gross a total of $16,273,581 domestically and $21,510,851 worldwide. With its $16 million in domestic box office, Black Christmas is the lowest-grossing film among the recent slasher remakes, which consist of When a Stranger Calls (2006), Halloween (2007), Prom Night (2008), My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009), and A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010), lead by Friday the 13th (2009) with $65 million.

The film has made more money from its DVD sales than it did at the box office with a total DVD gross of $29,436,341.

Critical receptionEdit

The film was panned by critics and reviewers. The film holds a 14% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 55 reviews. The critics agreed that it was "a gratuitous remake of the 1974 slasher, Black Christmas pumps out the gore and blood with zero creativity, humor, or visual flair". On Metacritic, the film was given an average rating of 22, based on 17 reviews, indicating "generally negative reviews".

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