Movie Review: Black Christmas (1974)

Synopsis: A group of sorority sisters and their alcoholic house mother receive prank calls and are stalked by a serial killer over Christmas break.

Who's in it? The movie stars Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, John Saxon, Marian Waldman and Andrea Martin.

Review: I hadn't seen the original version of this movie in a couple years so, when I came across it on one of of our movie channels a couple nights ago, I made sure to record it. My wife and I got around to watching it last night and, while it wasn't quite as good as I remembered it, it was still a good movie.

The thing I like most about this movie is the mystery surrounding the sorority's attacker. We know nothing about him (or if it even is a "him") and that creates a wide range of possibilities. Is it an escaped mental patient? Is it one of their boyfriends? Is it one of the sorority sisters? This mystery did make the movie less predictable than similar films I've watched.

I also liked how the movie manages not to take itself too seriously with plenty of comic relief from the house mother (Waldman) and some of the police officers. Even though they are supposed to be scary, films like this are much more enjoyable when they try to be fun.

To be fair, the movie does have its flaws as well. For one, we never do learn, for certain, who the killer is and, while that has advantages if there's a sequel, it was a bit like being engrossed in a murder mystery only to discover the final couple chapters (the ones that reveal the killer) are missing.

Also, I found it a bit odd that the police never made an effort to search the attic (where the killer and two victims were). You would think they would make a thorough search of the house considering that is where the killer's first victim was last seen and it was pretty obvious he had been there the whole time. But, I guess if the police were that smart, he would have been caught in the first few minutes.

Final Opinion: As I said, the movie isn't quite as good as I remember (though I do still like it more than the 2006 remake). But, it is still worth taking the time to watch at least once if you haven't seen it, especially over the Christmas holiday.

My Grade: B


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