Few movies have ever mixed the Christmas and horror genres successfully - 'Gremlins' being a possible exception - and the remake of 'Black Christmas' is no different.

A lack of adequate suspense, awful lines and a complete lack of irony combine to make this one of the worst horror movies ever made. To make matters worse this is an unnecessary remake of a classic horror from the 1970s, a Bob Clark-directed feature that starred Margot Kidder (later to become better known as Lois Lane).

The scene is a sorority house that, in its former life, was home to a dysfunctional family that was slaughtered by an abused son after years of mental torture. The resident girls are preparing to leave for the Christmas holidays and begin discussing the history of their abode. Meanwhile Billy (Mann), the aforementioned murderer, escapes from a psychiatric institution and sets out to visit home in time for Christmas.

What follows is a gruesome pattern of events that sees the girls picked off, one by one, in a series of graphic slashings.

This doesn't even make it an average, mildly entertaining, horror movie. The score fails to add to the suspense and the awful delivery of lines from a talentless cast will leave many disinterested when the events reach their climax. There is also the lack of believability that takes from it - the police are unable to get to the scene for two hours yet Billy is able to make it in a couple of minutes in stormy winter conditions. Yet more craziness ensues towards the end of proceedings when there is no security in a hospital that is housing the survivor from an attack of a mass murderer.

The saving grace of the movie is the fact that it is quite short, so if you do happen to wander in for curiosity's sake you won't have to wait too long before exiting and wondering how you might get back the time that you have wasted. 'Black Christmas' is a poor effort at cashing in on the increasing popularity of horror and the enduring popularity of Christmas movies.

Patrick Kennedy