UK Release Date – TBC
Well I guess it is the season (of evil) so let’s take a look at what sort of blood soaked stocking fillers are on offer. As you might have noticed the low rent horror film listings are chock full of evil Santa movies, whether it’s the likes of Krampus in various guises or simply a lot of killers dressed in red and white. This Norwegian effort falls into the latter category, and so there have to be comparisons drawn with festive favourites like Christmas Evil and Silent Night, Deadly Night. Personally I’m all about that opening chapter of Tales from Crypt – it’s got brevity. Unfortunately this is mostly inspired by a different kind of seasonal slasher.
Maybe you set down to watch that very film just recently yourself, after all there was a big sequel this year. I’m of course talking about John Carpenter’s Halloween, a film that has always inspired half baked and ill advised rip-offs. Less a story about Christmas and more a dull and lethargic escaped lunatic story, Christmas Blood‘s inspiration is worn on its fur coated sleeves. But the stretches of original content in between all the wannabe Michael Myers scenes are almost entirely filler scenes involving a group of doomed girls at a party.
The opening shock sequence fails to make an impact as a man dressed as Saint Nick stalks people on Christmas Eve. He’s got a naughty list which I suppose suggests someone thought about the obligatory holiday content at least, although it’s never clear exactly how he chose the names of the original victims. But the cops get lucky and one of their team shoots him (six times). Of course this doesn’t kill the guy and he’s locked away in the bug house, later to be described by a dubious police psychiatrist as ‘evil’. The setup does at least tantalise us with the prospect of an unhinged officer chasing down the killer when he inevitably escapes, but to draw any real comparisons to Dr. Loomis would be insulting.
Later the newest victims assemble as various friends gather to drink booze and smoke pot. It’s not even a very festive party, they just get drunk and dance around like idiots. What are these characters you might ask? Well one is Swedish, one is Australian, one is mute… you get the idea. None of them have actual personalities and while the original trio might have been a reasonable main cast the party keeps getting larger as the night goes on. For no good reason more friends arrive and later they invite some scuzzy boys over after searching Tinder. The small glimpses of depth hinted at when they talk about the house owner’s mother committing suicide is never expanded on and it feels like a throwaway dialogue scene without any overall purpose.
The movie boasts some interesting locations since the story is shot on location in a real Norwegian city complete with snow mobiles and deserted night time streets. It could have used this to build some atmosphere since it’s a pretty striking place to look at. The film makers must have had some sense of style as they copied the Stranger Things intro crawl, but there’s not much to be found elsewhere. Even the electronic score is usually wasted and they opt instead for repetitive and obnoxious noise instead of proper horror movie melodies. A lot of stuff is thrown into the blender but like the number of pointless characters it’s all just shoved in without any real creative thought.
The plot itself jumps between different time periods as it’s explained that before being caught Father Christmas had been out slaying on the same night for many years. The grizzled ex-cop who stopped him and a new fresh faced detective must figure out what his motives are before he can strike again. Or so you’d think. Most of the time they sit around drinking coffee out of the same plastic cup waiting for someone to be murdered. Despite the possibilities of a story in which crimes span between 1998 to 2011 and beyond they never really develop any of the heroes or the villain himself. He just shows up and gives a mildly threatening ‘ho ho ho’ before going to work with an axe. Beyond the Santa-suit it’s hard to see what the real connection with the holiday is.
I’d liked to have seen him escape captivity using his toy making skills or attacking the naughty boys and girls with some seasonal panache. A few mishandled jump scares and sudden splashes of gore fail to register. It’s not even clear why he kills people that aren’t on his list or why the police are so bad at figuring out where he’s going to appear next. There’s never any attempt at criminal profiling and like so much of the narrative all the real details are just missing entirely. It’s all so perfunctory and dull in a way that drains the suspense from the proceedings. The film is more concerned with montages of drunk revelry that go on forever… suggesting this has bad pacing would be an understatement. Treat yourself this Christmas and avoid this unwanted visitor.