The calls (and texts) might be coming from inside the house as a killer stalks a group of sorority sisters in the first trailer for , directed by Sophia Takal (best known for directing an episode of ), who also co-wrote the script with April Wolfe. The original 1974 is widely regarded by film historians as one of the first slasher films.
(Some spoilers for original film and 2006 remake below.)
Original screenwriter A. Roy Moore was influenced by the infamous urban legend about the babysitter and the man upstairs, as well as string of holiday murders in Montreal, Quebec. While the film mostly received lackluster reviews, it proved modestly profitable at the box office, and over the years, it has garnered a strong cult following. Director John Carpenter was purportedly inspired by when he made 1978’s . Sure, it’s a typical slasher film, but you could do worse for gory alternative holiday fare if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing. Along with the occasional humorous touches, there are some genuinely shocking twists, including a deliberately ambiguous ending (we never learn the killer’s identity, for one thing). Sadly, the 2006 remake had none of those redeeming qualities.
This latest remake is clearly going for woke. Per the official synopsis:
Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays. But as Riley Stone (Imogen Poots) and her Mu Kappa Epsilon sisters—athlete Marty (Lily Donoghue), rebel Kris (Aleyse Shannon), and foodie Jesse (Brittany O’Grady)—prepare to deck the halls with a series of seasonal parties, a black-masked stalker begins killing sorority women one by one. As the body count rises, Riley and her squad start to question whether they can trust any man, including Marty’s beta-male boyfriend, Nate (Simon Mead), Riley’s new crush Landon (Caleb Eberhardt), or even esteemed classics instructor Professor Gelson (Cary Elwes). Whoever the killer is, he’s about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t about to be anybody’s victims.
Frankly, I find the term “beta-male” cringe-inducing in pretty much any context, and if you’re going to go all girl power in your marketing, at least allow for the possibility that the killer could be a woman. The trailer itself covers fairly standard ground. The sisters throw a winter-break party, and before long someone wonders aloud whether they should have let their friend Helena walk home alone. The sisters figure she’ll be fine.
But this is a slasher movie, so of course Helena runs afoul of the killer, who takes her out with a handy icicle. Then the creepy calls and text messages start, and ultimately we get to the iconic declaration: “There’s someone in the house!”
The “fresh twist” appears to be a longstanding tradition of ritual sacrifice at Hawthorne College. “This school has 200 years of history,” we hear Professor Gelson explain. “Many sacrifices have been made to keep our traditions alive.” And of course, the surviving sisters decide they’d rather not be sacrificial lambs and opt to fight back. I’m frankly skeptical that this remake can do justice to the original. But Blumhouse Productions has a decent track record with horror, so I’m inclined to give the film a chance to win me over.
is slated for release on December 13, 2019 (a Friday, of course).