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Review: Christmas Bloody Christmas. Time waste or brilliant slasher? Find out now!

  • Release year: 2022
  • Director: Joe Begos.
  • Producers: Joe Begos and Josh Ethier.
  • Screenplay by: Joe Begos.
  • Cinematographer: Brian Sowell.
  • Music by: Steve Moore.

Synopsis: a US Department of Defense animatronic turned Santa Claus goes rogue and starts killing people.

Shotgun commentary: It is indeed bloody and happens during Christmas…That’s the extent of the appeal. I mean…they did choose the title right…

Fig. 1. Killer Santa looking at a kid opening presents, yes, that’s the “natural lighting” of the kid’s house at night. Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Review

If you think my shotgun commentary was lazy, get ready for this movie, you’ll learn a new meaning of lazy. Just look at the style of the opening credits, the precision in the calligraphy reflects the attention to detail of this movie. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the whole script was written in crayon.

Fig. 2. Christmas Bloody Christmas opening credits. Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

However, before going into detail about the script, it is only fair to address the elephant in the room: what is going on with the lighting in this movie?!

Electro vibes

Don’t get me wrong, as a colour addict myself I had a pretty big visual orgasm all throughout the movie, but that didn’t keep me from noticing the minus ten logic of the coloured lights’ existence and placement in ALL of the settings. Does the final girl (Riley Dandy), aka Tori, live in a brothel? An underground electro club maybe? Sure, she’s edgy and all that, but she still needs to see where she steps on, especially in that dumpster of a house. Even super special edgy girls have one or two regular lights in their home…don’t they?

Fig. 3. Tori walking down the stairs of her underground tattoo parlour, sorry, her house. Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Slasher wins

Talking about things that make no sense, big fan of the amount of blood spatter per minute, only topped by the super gross deaths of super cheap dummies. Honestly, I hadn’t seen a slasher this funny in a while and for that I am genuinely grateful. Every single one of the deaths are so stupid and gratuitous that they become the sole reason you’ll keep watching. Also, amazing bonus for the inexplicable explosion Alarm for Cobra 11 style when the ambulance hits a police car. What a masterpiece.

Fig. 4. Tori in the police station, all bloody but for a perfect circular area around her eyes. Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Of course, a good slasher needs another element apart from ridiculous amounts of blood and hilarious deaths: incredibly bad acting.

So bad it’s…good?

Granted, most of the characters perform quite decently, but there is one star that shines above all others: officer Douchebag, his friends call him Bobby (Jeremy Gardner). I’ve seen more discreet and refined performances in soap operas. Watching him reminds me of trying to film something with friends who won’t stop laughing in every take. After six hours, you sort of get something resembling what you want; you wouldn’t add that to the movie if they asked you six hours ago, but now it feels like an Oscar worthy performance. That’s the feeling. Only as a spectator you haven’t been trying for six hours so it just looks like a guy trying too hard and making you appreciate the performances of everyone else around him.

Fig. 5. Killer Santa in the toy shop before going rogue. Fun fact: I thought David Harbour had played Santa twice during Christmas 2022 and I was kinda wondering why was he in this movie. Then, on the credits I learned it’s actually Abraham Benrubi. Still not fully convinced though… Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Having said this, it’s time for the real deal, what makes everything else that has been said just minor details: the script.

Indolence at its finest

Never in my many years of experience watching slashers, Hellraiser’s and Halloween’s complete franchises included, have I ever seen such a lazy script. Honestly, I don’t know whether to be disappointed or proud. The characters have the depth of a puddle and their behaviour is that of a person who sniffs more glue than air. How can anyone mistake their front door being axed open with their kid opening up presents? Is your kid Optimus Prime? A steamroller maybe? And as a kid, after hearing your parents yelling for their lives and seeing a Santa Claus covered in blood, your reaction is to start opening presents? Maybe it’s just me but, if that’s the norm in the US, American kids need to set their priorities straight ASAP.

Fig. 6. Uncredited kid reproaching killer Santa over his gifts right before getting killed.
Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Now, about the final girl…just…what the f*ck?!

Final Girl shenanigans

When killer Santa catches her sister Liddy (Kansas Bowling), her asshole husband Mike (Graham Skipper) very predictably runs away. What I didn’t expect is for Tori to leave too! Dare I say, even faster than her husband? Who is the real jerk here Tori? She doesn’t stop even for a second to try and rescue her sister. She waits until she’s safe to get dramatic for about 0.5 seconds and then that’s that, sister who?

Fig. 7. Tori’s sister getting killed, alone, ’cause noone cares.
Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

What makes it even more surreal is that, not even 5 minutes later, she fights tooth and nail against Santa because he’s grabbed Robbie (Sam Delich), her employee, and then she goes into shock after he gets killed. Sure, Robbie was the first guy she’s encountered who knows how to eat her out, but once again: priorities, people, priorities. Also, lighting up a joint in a police station? Really? Her trashy record store has fire detectors but the POLICE STATION doesn’t? And talking about fire detectors and Tori’s great ideas, why does she set a bin on fire to turn on the sprinklers? Just light the lighter next to the detector and save time, you pyro.

Fig. 8. Tori activates her store’s sprinklers by burning paper in a bin, ’cause using directly her lighter would have been too easy… Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Ups and downs

The film is a rollercoaster of characteristic slasher moments: inexplicable decisions like Tori throwing her weapon for the fourth time thinking that the bad guy is dead (even though she’s already seen him rise from the dead three times before), incredible obliviousness in face of imminent mortal danger, the always-welcomed slowmo attacks The Final Girls style, or the classic move “becoming a sitting duck for the killer by positioning your back to the window because they dropped you on your head when you were little”. This buildup of moments reaches its climax in the inevitable faceoff between the final girl and the bad guy. A fight that drags on so much that it morphs into a very slow, piece by piece, mutual destruction; sort of like seeing a showdown between two Black Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Fig. 9. Robbie hiding next to the window ’cause apparently all those scary movies he’s watched taught him NOTHING. Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Yeah… but no

All in all, there was a good idea for a slasher, but not really the desire to work on a script. All the effort is put in showcasing the writer’s extensive knowledge about music and films of specific genres, making a point of the fact that if you don’t know what the characters are talking about you’re dumb and mainstream. The rest of the movie feels winged, which results in a film with zero logic in which not even the amount of damage done to the characters is coherent. Basically, the characters will recover or not from blows based on the plot’s needs at that moment, not on the gravity of the hit itself.

Fig. 10. Tori and Robbie drinking whiskey at her shop and talking about music.
Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

Advice to take from this movie:

  1. Always have a lighter at hand in case you feel like blowing up an ambulance (good luck with that btw).
  2. Never eat your boss out ’cause you’ll get your head busted open with an axe.
Fig. 11. Robbie’s head getting busted open with an axe. Source: Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos, 2022).

How about you? Did you love the movie and think I’m really wrong? Did you laugh your ass off like I did? I would love to read your opinions so don’t hesitate to comment below or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema related articles check out the rest of my blog!

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