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Monday, November 17, 2008

The calls are coming inside the house

In an effort to have better ammunition for an argument, I decided to do some research into the world of modern horror movie remakes. After recently watching Zack Snyder's decent take on Dawn of the Dead, I decided to check out Glen Morgan's take on Black Christmas. All I can do is groan and roll my eyes after seeing this flick. But I'm glad I watched it for several reasons.

Bob Clark's 1974 original has become one of my favorite horror flicks, right up there with the original Halloween. My review basically states all the things I dig about the film, but I'd also add that the scares, pacing, and (especially) the visual style are what make this a great film. In regards to the 2006 remake, the visual style is quite good (especially with all the Christmas lights), but that's about all I can praise about this film.

I have a long list of complaints about the remake, but I'll just share a few for right now. My big complaint is with the "protagonists" (aka, the women being stalked by Billy). Making most of the women bratty, cardboard sorority girls loses my sympathy vote. Unlike the well-rounded, non-stereotypical women in the original, seeing these women get offed one by one was like watching a skilled marksmen at a carnival shooting booth. I knew all the targets would be hit, it was just a matter of when and how.

Also, after watching the original only a couple of days before watching the remake, I found the abundance of backstory a problem in the remake. To me, all the backstory you really need is mentioned in the obscene phonecalls in the original. But no, we have to be told everything in the remake in hopes we understand why Billy is the way he is. Is it such a crime to have enough information to where we can come to our own conclusions?

The point is, I'm glad I watched the remake. I think you can learn a lot from a great movie about how to make something effective. But I also think you can learn a lot from a bad movie about what not to do. It's not like I intentionally watch bad movies. It's not like I'm forced to watch bad movies. If there's enough of a curiosity factor, even if the film has received mostly bad reviews and bad word of mouth, I'll get around to seeing it. Now I'm not one to dance on the failures of others so I don't feel so bad about my own. I just want a better understanding of what I want and what I don't want.

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