With Blumhouse production, Universal Pictures distribution, and a famous brand linked to its title, one could expect guaranteed success for a movie, right? Not if the work in question is Bloody Christmas. After all, do you remember seeing the movie in our theaters? Okay, terror has been solemnly ignored in our theaters, but now comes to streaming (before going through VOD) from the Telecine network to be enjoyed – or maybe even more hated (calm, we’ll get there) – by movie theater fans. Here, in this new article, we will comment on all the controversy surrounding the film and try to explain why this new remake has become one of the most hated works in the history of cinema.
To begin with, it must be said that the reason for its direct video launch, avoiding large screens, is solely due to its financial failure at the North American and global counters. Nothing new, it always happens. When a film does not go well in certain markets, there are rare instances of such a work being “bought by noise” in our lands. Thus, Bloody Christmas, released on December 13, 2019 in the USA (in time for Christmas, of course) had even planned to make its debut on the screens of our country before the pandemic, canceled shortly after. With a budget of $ 5 million, the film only grossed $ 10 million on its trip through the American circuit. $ 4 million just over the opening weekend – showing word of mouth and overwhelmingly negative reviews were damaging the film’s gas. The feature film grossed a total of $ 18.5 million worldwide.
With the press specializing in the aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film is 38% approved. A mediocre rating, but far from one of the worst on the portal. The worst is even with fans and the general public, where with a score of 3.4 on the IMDB, Natal Sangrento is considered one of the worst films ever made by being part of the infamous and selective list of 100 least popular films. of all time (which is changeable, of course), by dialing number 74.
Let’s go back to the beginning. Bloody Christmas is actually (or at least it should be) the second remake of the horror classic Black Christmas (1974), directed by Bob Clark, a heart-wrenching slasher who predates famous icons of the empty genre Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th. (1980). We can say that Black Christmas (or Night of Terror) helped to launch the mold of what would become of such films, especially in the 1980s. In 2006, at a time when the remakes of horror classics (known or not so famous) they were in full swing, the first “reimagining” of the beloved slasher appeared. Adding a lot more blood, action, and familiar faces, Natal Negro (2006) grew younger and pop, however, the new version did not appeal to fans and critics, despite some supporters. Either way, it sounded odd at least when it was announced not to be a sequel to the 2006 film, or even a late sequel to the 1974 work (as some fans of the original intended – in Halloween style. 2018), but a second remake. … Over a period of thirteen years!
Positive point: production by Blumhouse, studio that gave us Corra! (2017), Nós (2019), Halloween (2018) and Death congratulate you (2017); and screenplay and directed by young Sophia Takal (also an actress), in work that promised to add a lot of female empowerment elements to the plot – being the first woman to direct a movie in the franchise and generally one of the few to achieve a major title of the genre. Negative point: a hasty production, announced in June 2019, pre-produced, filmed and post-produced in five months – in which the scenes had only one take and where much of the violence, gore and verbiage had to be cut to get soft censorship. The director, on the other hand, was not dismayed because of it, as she said the option was to cover the younger ones, especially the teenage girls.
In the past we’ve had good copies of low-censored horror movies. The biggest problem with this when it comes to Bloody Natal is that we can feel where all the censored cuts are. They’re so abrupt that the feel of a grossly shredded film doesn’t leave us. It’s also undeniable that part (see, I said part) of the hatred the film received was for its extremely feminist agenda. Bloody Natal is more than provocative in that sense, and although it is its best and strongest feature, it has ended up infuriating the sexists and misogynists on duty. But that’s not the main problem with the job, and it’s far, far from perfect.
Much like As Ghostbusters (2016) and the new As Panteras (2019), two other films that aren’t good either, but were promoted by their feminist bias, Natal Sangrento has received a lot of backlash (negative repercussion) before. even its exit. . And believe me, the other two films mentioned do not rise from this terror when it comes to feminist discourse. Which is just something wonderful, and why shouldn’t we have a horror movie like this? I saw somewhere what is perhaps the best definition of the work: “It’s not a film with a social message attached, it is a social message with a film attached”. And the problem with that, in this specific case, is that if you take away the (very important) social message that the feature carries, there isn’t much left to appreciate, because what’s left is wrong and bad a movie. The three films cited in this paragraph (including Bloody Christmas) seem so overwhelmed and desperate for representative content that they forget to make a good movie to go with it. In contrast, films like Wonder Woman (2017) and Captain Marvel (2019), aimed at the same large audience with an entertainment bias, do a better and more organic job of inserting a feminist context without forgetting everything – for a long time. film are several pieces moving together at the same time.
In fact, Natal Sangrento may have targeted the controversy to ride the ‘Talk badly but talk to me’ wave, which has determined the success of many films in the past. The connection to the original only exists through the title and the fact that we have young women in a college sorority on Christmas Eve, all of them being targeted by a psychopath and killed one by one. What director Takal is doing here is adapting her new plot, trying to fit it into that premise. And for that, she uses themes very worthy of being discussed as a background, like machismo, toxic masculinity and even sexual abuse and rape. The protagonist of the feature film, Riley (role of Imogen Poots – the only known face in the cast) is a young woman who keeps the trauma of being sexually assaulted in her story. One in five women is raped and 25% of women on college campuses are raped, according to the Center for Research on Sexual Violence. Real and alarming figures. In other words, subject more than necessary.
Bloody Christmas is not subtle in its approach. The film does not wish to make brushed comments along its screening as if they were subliminal messages so that at the end of the shoot what we are watching on screen can be debated. The result is a constant pounding in our heads of their themes, with every dialogue, with every plot exposure and with every scene. The message is clear: men are the bad guys and women the heroines. The work is ambitious and daring. And its biggest appeal is its provocative content. In her speech, the feature film teaches, the director speaking correctly on subjects that we men may not yet understand one hundred percent. And then perhaps the reason for such aggression by pushing them down the throat. The best way to learn is to repeat, review, and underline a theme. This message is so direct that it arrives like a right hook on our chin. And when it comes to word ownership, Natal Sangrento has more to say than his “cousins” The Ghostbusters and The Panthers, both from Sony.
Before we get into the script’s biggest sin, which falls into spoiler territory, it must be said that Bloody Christmas isn’t particularly scary. Once again, we can assert the higher ambitions of the filmmakers, who neglect the content of terror. And okay, we still have a moment or two inspired by the question. Other than that, in another show of maximum incompetence, the film’s marketing department simply narrated the entire movie in the trailer, including the villain reveal and the plot twist; soon becoming part of the collection for the case of what not to do when promoting a movie. On the other hand, not that the movie itself changes much, after all, with something around half an hour of exposure, the big secret is soon unceremoniously revealed. And again, one can only think that everything else has been in the background, in favor of his speech. In any case, this comes across as one more element that affected the performance of the audience at the box office and with the audience – in this type of film (or anyone for that matter) the fun is to be surprised.
Now we’ll get to the larger slide in Sophia Takal’s script and film. What happens is the director justifies the male behavior. The bloody Christmas twist is that young men who are members of a fraternity commit murders, led by the leader, the professor played by Cary Elwes (okay, he’s the most famous face in the cast). Owner of a sexist discourse, seeing them as antagonists for women to fight – I can’t fail to spotlight the most ardent feminist in the plot, Kris (Aleyse Shannon) – and they indeed are – is a pretty clear message (of the “sexist won’t get through” type). However, the filmmaker adds a supernatural element in the 45th second half, where a black slime is brainwashed for men to behave this way and comment on the murders. In a kind of black magic, the slime is poured from the bust of the founder of the university, a slaveholder who killed disobedient women. According to the director, goo represents toxic masculinity, which can be used to contaminate d ‘other men.
As much as it shows a certain creativity, the fact also exempts the characters from their criminal and murderous actions, since they are “dominated”. In the episode “Not All Men” (Not All Men) of Jordan Peele’s new Beyond the Imagination (2019), a similar premise gives a much better result, as we have confused the aggressive and homicidal behavior of possessed men with a space residue and the same behavior of other men who have not even had contact with the substance. The outcome of the episode is perfect and consistent with that presented. Bloody Christmas is another sore point, because after the visceral struggle of women x men (violence must be fought, but it must not be the solution), they imprison them to die in the burning brotherhood building and the movie ends. No messages or thoughts on what happened or how to fix the problem.
Bloody Christmas after all sounds like a half-finished movie. No doubt in a hurry, the work seems born dead, and the little life it had ended up becoming very little appreciated (to say nothing appreciated) or simply ignored. Good or bad, the approach is undoubtedly original and has come to shake things up. Even if you haven’t been able to achieve the desired result, don’t stay on the fence by targeting assurance with many films of the genre that they do. Beneath its surface we can find some great ideas and a great movie, which would need to be very polished and perfected. But at least it’s partly with good intention.
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