Why The Black Christmas Remake Is Rated PG-13

Black Christmas

Last Christmas recently hit theaters but it won’t be the last Christmas movie this holiday season; there’s another Christmas movie on the way and this one features significantly more murder. I’m talking about Blumhouse Productions’ remake of Black Christmas. The upcoming slasher starring Imogen Poots and Cary Elwes (Westley!) doesn’t hit theaters until December, but it has officially received a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America for the following reasons:

Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, thematic content involving sexual assault, language, sexual material and drinking.

That description sounds about right for Black Christmas. Although a PG-13 rating could seem somewhat tame for a horror film, based on the information from Film Ratings, Black Christmas will not be a tame movie. Black Christmas earned its PG-13 rating for a whole host of reasons that indicate that it will be violent and scary and that it will deal with some very serious material.

The film follows a group of sorority pledges as they fight for their lives against a murderous stalker and an insidious college conspiracy, so the violence and terror are baked in to that premise. As is language, because there’s no point in watching your mouth when your life is on the line. The film will also show college kids partying so the mention of drinking and sexual material also makes sense.

I’m actually somewhat surprised that Black Christmas snuck through with a PG-13 rating. I obviously haven’t seen it yet, but the trailer makes it look like this it had the potential to be a very bloody slasher flick. But the reasons for the PG-13 rating given by the MPAA’s Classification & Ratings Administration don’t’ indicate that to be the case.

The violence isn’t described as graphic or bloody or disturbing like we see in some other film ratings, so it doesn’t sound like Black Christmas will be going heavy on the gore. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though and it seems that there will still be plenty of terror in the holiday horror flick.

The PG-13 rating for this remake of Black Christmas also represents a departure from the previous Black Christmas movies, both of which were rated R. The 1974 original was R-rated, as was the 2006 remake that starred Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. That 2006 film was Rated R for “strong horror violence and gore, sexuality, nudity and language.”

That covers a lot of the same ground as the newer film with the one big differentiator being the nudity. That may have pushed the last Black Christmas over the edge into restricted territory and without it, the new Blumhouse film managed to get by with a PG-13.

While I could have totally seen an R rating for Black Christmas, the trailer also made the movie look like a lot of fun with a bit of a playful vibe, so it may be for the best that more audiences will get to see the film without needing adult supervision.

Black Christmas opens in theaters on December 13. Check out the other big holiday movies arriving around Thanksgiving and Christmas in our guide.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.