Jared Moshe explores the classic science fiction trope in his latest film, Aporia from Well Go USA. Since losing her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi) in a drunk-driving incident, Sophie (Judy Greer) has struggled to manage crippling grief, a full-time job, and the demands of parenting her devastated teenage daughter (Faithe Herman).
Christmas Bloody Christmas earns a slot on the naughty list
Kris Kringle is another murderous rampage in the RLJE film release, Christmas Bloody Christmas, written and directed by Joe Begos. On the eve of Christmas, fiery record store owner Tori Tooms (Riley Dandy) wants to get drunk and have some fun. At Tori’s workplace, Robbie (Sam Delich) harbors an unrequited crush on Tori, and all he wants for Christmas is to break out of the friend zone so he can be with her.
Following Tori’s aborted Tinder date, the friends spend the evening hanging out, listening to music, and enjoying adult beverages to get through the night. The night, however, takes a turn for the more sinister when a robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store goes haywire. The situation becomes more complicated, and bodies begin to pile up. Against a backdrop of drugs, sex, metal, and violence, Santa Claus embarks on a rampant killing spree through the neon-drenched snowscape. In a blood-soaked battle for survival, Tori must eventually fight for her life against the ruthless heavy metal Saint Nick.
In 1971 the first Christmas-themed Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? hit U.K. cinemas. One year later, “…And All Through the House,” a segment from the anthology Tales from the Crypt, featured Santa Claus, a man of inhumane methods. However, it wasn’t until 1974, with the release of Bob Clark’s Black Christmas, that the Christmas-themed horror film really took flight.
Since then, numerous filmmakers have put a sinister spin on the yuletide holiday. We all know the enjoyable mainstream like Gremlins, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and more recently, Krampus. However, for every film I just mentioned, there’s a counterpart that deserves a lump of coal regarding horror aesthetics.
Regretfully Christmas Bloody Christmas falls into the latter category. I initially had high hopes for Christmas Bloody Christmas due to my enjoyment of Joe Begos’s previous film VFW. While Begos has written three other features in the past, I have yet to see any of them. Perhaps because he didn’t have a hand in the script for VFW is why I liked that film.
Christmas Bloody Christmas comes off as a script Begos wrote in high school and dusted off. Now I will give him some credit for the opening, which earned a few chuckles from me as it involved inappropriate Christmas gifts. Following the naughty gift ads, we see a commercial for RoboSanta+, an animatronic Father Christmas that “replaces your local degenerate mall Santa.
There is, of course, some information stating that the military initially developed RoboSanta+. A later news report, which attempts to break the fourth wall, announces that RoboSanta+ will soon be discontinued. It’s a weak story setup that’s been done before.
As the film continues, Begoes builds on Tori being the perfect woman for those who don’t like mainstream entertainment. I became more invested in that angle instead of wanting some Christmas carnage. When the violence did arrive, it took me out of the film, and I no longer cared about the characters.
A line of dialogue suggests that the only two good Christmas songs were by the Ramones and Lemmy, which only worsens things. I’m all for a mindless horror flick, but when the script is weak and I’m checking my phone, there is a problem.
I’m sure there is an audience that will enjoy Christmas Bloody Christmas, but it was a miss for this critic.
Final Grade : D
Christmas Bloody Christmas opens in Theaters and will stream exclusively on Shudder on December 9, 2022
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