This Christmas slasher film is an updated version of a 1974 film by the same title. This 2006 version is directed and written by Glen Morgan, with an additional writing credit for Roy Moore who wrote the screenplay to the 1974 original. Like it’s 1974 predecessor, and many a slasher film of the 70’s and 80’s, this is a no-thrills “killer-stalks-girls” in a house film. There is a lot of bloodshed and gore, a few jump scares, some gross-out moments, and a large batch of “what are they doing that for?” and “just run away!!”. With the original coming out in the 1970’s it was ahead of it’s time for a slasher film, it paved the way for similar films in the horror genre. This 2006 version of the film therefore has a lot to live up to, but, as this review will detail, I’m kind of OK with it.
Short Plot: Insane killer escapes an asylum and returns home to stalk and kill the new inhabitants of the house, who just happen to be university sorority sisters.
More Info: Billy Lenz has a traumatic upbringing, it’s not bad enough that he was born with a rare liver defect that makes his skin yellow, but on top of that he is abused by his mother. She eventually kills Billy’s biological father with help from her boyfriend, and poor Billy sees them burying his dad under the house. While trying to escape his abusive mother he ends up getting locked in the loft of the house, where he lives out his days. Later on his mother would have sex with him, and soon birth a daughter, who is both Billy’s sister and daughter. Seeing the sister/daughter get the love that Billy was denied drives him further insane, to the point he kills his mum’s boyfriend and squishes his eye-balls, then kills his mother too. Using a cookie cutter he takes parts of his mum skin off and bakes it – the police eventually find him eating skin cookies and drinking milk. He is insane of course and gets committed to asylum. Flash-forward to the present, and the house where Billy grew up is now a sorority house inhabited by a group of girls. It’s Christmas Eve and while some of the inhabitants have left for the holidays, some are staying behind. The remaining 8 girls start to get harassed by strange phone calls, this soon escalated into other strange noises. The group of 8 slowly get dwindled down as they are killed off in gruesome ways.
As far as remakes go, this one isn’t all that bad at all. The killer is explored a little more than the original film did, and the deaths are a little more bloody and gruesome – but the film doesn’t suffer at all. There of course a few difference between this and the original, some of the language has been toned down and some of the Billy phone calls are missing – but in general the film still flows and feels good.
The casting is decent enough, but the film doesn’t really allow a single person to shine through. Emphasis is shifted throughout so that tensions are ramped and the audience don’t fully have a safe vehicle to ride the film out with. Visually the film is good and carries all the hallmarks of a Christmas film, and is true to the original too.
I enjoyed this film, it was a throwback to a type of film that doesn’t often get made anymore. In modern slasher films there’s always a strong fightback from the prey to prove they are strong independent modern kids. In slasher films of the 70’s and 80’s, and in this too, it doesn’t matter how strong or independent you are – the killer is after you.
As a fan of horror, this is a nice Christmas film that allows me to continue my love of horror over the festive period. I’ve got to be honest and say that the original is a lot better in many ways – but this isn’t all that bad. As the film has been cleaned up a little and modernised, it’s something I can happily watch with family and friends – as long as they are old enough… and maybe not my mum. Merry Christmas victims – see you soon!