Blumhouse and Universal’s Black Christmas remake is now in theaters, and for anyone with questions, here’s a full breakdown of the ending. While some slasher killers become pop culture icons unto themselves, a common element of the sub-genre is mystery. Many slashers also operate as whodunits, although not necessarily on the level of an Agatha Christie story. Sometimes slashers pull the cheap move of making the killer someone the audience hasn’t seen before, such as Friday the 13th, but trying to guess who the killer is can be a fun pastime for horror fans.
1974’s original Black Christmas, directed by Bob Clark, played heavily on the mystery of its killer’s identity, throwing in several characters as potential red herrings. In the end, the film took the rare route of not revealing its murderer at all, ending on an unresolved note. Contrarily, the 2006 remake of Black Christmas took the opposite path, revealing just about everything anyone could possibly want to know about its villain.
Unfortunately, Black Christmas 2019 ended up closer to the remake than the original when it comes to mystery, thanks to its marketing, which looked to give away basically every twist in the film, and that turned out to be an accurate assessment. There’s few surprises waiting for viewers of the new Black Christmas, although the ones present are odd, to say the least.
Near the end of Black Christmas, mysterious hooded killers covered in a weird black goo have killed MKE sorority sisters Marty and Jesse, two of the main quartet of friends. This leaves protagonist Riley and her best friend Kris alive, and while they first attempt to escape, Riley decides to go back and take the fight to their attackers and bring them to justice. Riley’s a rape survivor, and her rapist went unpunished, so she doesn’t exactly trust the authorities. Said attackers are revealed to be members of the AKO fraternity, led by alumnus Professor Gelson.
With the help of shy but kind fellow student Landon, Riley infiltrates the AKO frat house to try and stop their reign of terror, but discovers her missing friend Helena along the way. She tries to rescue her, but is attacked from behind. Helena has switched sides and pledged obedience to the men of AKO, who discovered the means to conduct an ancient black magic ritual inside of a bust of their founder, Nathaniel Hawthorne. The aforementioned black goo is able to possess the fraternity’s pledges, and make them mindless killers. The members of AKO see this as an opportunity to put women back in the subservient place they feel the opposite sex belongs, and reclaim male dominance over society. As a reward for her betrayal, Helena is murdered by the cult, in front of Riley.
Just when things look hopeless for Riley, as she’s trapped and Landon has been turned evil by the influence of AKO’s black goo, Kris and the collected survivors of AKO’s assault on Hawthorne College’s sororities arrive with weapons in tow. Working together, Riley, Kris, and their new allies manage to triumph over Gelson and the rest of AKO, killing Riley’s rapist in the process. Kris sets Gelson on fire, Riley destroys the Hawthorne bust that’s the source of AKO’s dark power, and locks the rest of the frat members inside the burning room. The whole frat house goes up in flames, as Riley, Kris, and a back to normal Landon watch triumphantly. Later, a cat is seen licking up some of the black goo, implying Black Christmas’ threat might not be truly vanquished.
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