The 2006 remake of the classic horror film Black Christmas starred Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert and Katie Cassidy. This slasher film was written and directed by Glen Morgan, known for his work on The X-Files.
Upon its December 2006 release, the Black Christmas remake faced backlash from religious groups for its graphic content being scheduled for Christmas Day. It premiered in Los Angeles on December 19th, 2006, then saw a UK premiere on December 15th prior to the wider US release.
Despite criticism that it lacked innovation compared to the 1974 original, the $9 million budget remake brought in over $21 million worldwide. The film leans heavily into gore and violence, forgoing humor according to reviews.
A further remake released in 2019 was panned even more harshly. Most fans of the 1970s Black Christmas prefer to focus discussion on the 1974 original and 2006 remake.
The 2006 remake of “Black Christmas” introduced audiences to a more detailed backstory of the film’s central antagonist, “Billy,” a departure from the more enigmatic portrayal in the original 1974 version. While the original film left much of Billy’s history to the imagination, screenwriter and director Glen Morgan opted for a narrative that delved into the character’s troubled past, providing context for his actions.
Critical reception at the time of release was mixed, with some appreciating the expanded lore and others feeling it detracted from the mystery that made the original so compelling. Despite varying opinions, the remake’s approach to character development represented a shift towards a more expository style of storytelling in horror remakes.
Upon revisiting the film years after its release, one may find that the additional backstory elements contribute to a different viewing experience, potentially offering a new perspective on the film’s place within the slasher genre. The 2006 “Black Christmas” may not have been universally embraced, but it stands as a testament to the era’s approach to reimagining classic horror tales.
Financially, the film demonstrated modest success. With a production budget of under $9 million, “Black Christmas” (2006) grossed approximately $21.5 million worldwide. This figure indicates that, despite the polarized critical and audience reception, there was a significant enough interest in the remake to turn a profit.
In the years following its release, the 2006 remake of “Black Christmas” has been reassessed by some fans and critics alike, with its influence on modern horror remakes and reinterpretations becoming a point of discussion. The film’s exploration of Billy’s backstory, while controversial, has been noted as a significant narrative choice that differentiates it from the original and has influenced subsequent horror remakes in their approach to character and story.
You want to know what the movie is about, do you? It’s basically a repeat of Black Christmas, but with some significant differences this time.
Billy Lenz’s mother, Constance Lenz, mistreated him when he was a baby and he suffered from acute jaundice. She continues to beat him now. On the evening of Christmas Eve in 1975, Billy’s mother’s boyfriend shot and killed Billy’s father, Frank, and buried his body in the crawlspace of the family home. After Billy witnessed her plot, he was locked up in the attic as punishment. In the year 1982, Billy’s mother becomes pregnant by herself in the attic with the help of her son despite the fact that her lover is unable to have any more children. A number of months later, Constance gives birth to their daughter Agnes, and on the occasion of her daughter’s birth, she rejects Billy once more. On Christmas Day in 1991, Agnes, then eight years old, suffered a catastrophic eye injury when Billy ran away from the attic. After taking the lives of his mother and her boyfriend, he goes on to take the life of Agnes. After being apprehended by the authorities while eating cookies made out of his mother’s flesh, he is sent to a mental institution, and Agnes is placed in the care of an orphanage.
On Christmas Eve, Billy, who is now 36 years old, breaks out of his jail cell and makes his way to the location that was once his home but is now used by the Delta Alpha Kappa sorority at Clement University in New Hampshire. A member of the sorority named Clair Crosby is found dead in her bedroom after being murdered by an unidentified individual. Megan Helms, in the meantime, has heard some noises coming from the attic and has gone up there to investigate. The assailant who assaulted Clair when she discovered Megan’s body also kills Megan. Clair was the one who found Megan’s body. The murderer places a threatening phone call to their housemother, Mrs. Mac, as well as to the other sorority sisters, Kelli Presley, Melissa Kitt, Heather Fitzgerald, Dana Mathis, and Lauren Hannon. Soon after, Claire’s half-sister Leigh Colvin, who had been searching for her, found her. The boyfriend of Kelli, Kyle Autry, also shows up, but he is asked to leave once he sees the sex film that Megan took of him and Kelli together. When the electricity goes out, he meets the person in the crawlspace, which ultimately leads to his death. When Dana’s surviving sorority sisters and Leigh understand that she was ambushed by a person, they walk outside to find her. However, they are stunned to see Eve Agnew’s decapitated body in her car when they get there.
As a result of the storm that delayed the arrival of the police, Heather, Mrs. Mac, and Kelli all left the home together, but Melissa and Leigh remained inside. Both Heather and Mrs. Mac are murdered in the vehicle; however, Mrs. Mac’s death is caused by icicles that fall on her. While Kelli and Leigh investigate in the garage, the suspect kills Melissa and then leaves the scene. When Kelli and Leigh returned to the second floor, they discovered the eyeless body of Lauren. In the attic, Kyle climbs the ladder with the other two people in order to investigate; as Kyle ascends the ladder, the attacker, who seems to be Agnes, grabs hold of him and pulls him down to his death. While Kelli and Agnes fight it out in the attic, Billy is climbing through the gap between the house’s walls. Kelli is able to get away from her murderers with the assistance of Leigh just in time to save Billy and Agnes from being burned to death in the fire they ignite.
While Kelli and Leigh are tending to their burns, Billy kills the mortuary attendant who helped him after he was injured at the hospital. During the time that Leigh was having an x-ray done, Agnes showed up in Kelli’s hospital room and murdered her. As soon as Kelli returns to her room, Agnes assaults Kelli through the ceiling, but Kelli is able to defeat Agnes and kill her by using a defibrillator. After that, Billy breaks through the ceiling and chases Kelli down the stairway as he tries to catch her. After a brief altercation, Kelli kills Billy by pushing him over the balcony, where he is fatally pierced by the point of a Christmas tree.
Maybe its nostalgia speaking but I really feel that the film was able to pull it off and add more to an existing film, no sadly it did not have John Saxon in the film but it did hold the line without him.
If you have already watched the movie, you owe it to yourself to give it another go and see it at least once more. Have you never experienced this version before? Give it a shot—you never know, you might enjoy it.
The film, which was released 15 years after Black Christmas 2006, received 3.5 out of 5 stars from me, which is an increase from the first opinions I had about it.