A Christmas Horror Story (2015) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Last Christmas, I tore out your heart…

During a routine Christmas family visit to my parents, I convinced my dad and my wife to watch this film with me, knowing that their film tastes aren’t that far away from my own depravity. So in true family Christmas film style we gathered around to watch what promised to be an interesting Christmas Horror film. At this point let me just say sorry to Mum, you were outnumbered but I promise to watch a New Year’s musical with you to make up for it.

This film is directed by Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan. It is written by James Kee, Sarah Larsen, and Doug Taylor. Among its acting cast you can find William Shatner, George Buza, and Rob Archer. There is a much bigger cast of course, all of who do decent jobs, but for me it was those 3 that really stand out as a draw to the film.

Unfortunately the film didn’t live up to the advertisements that I’d seen – it was made to look like a no-holds-barred fight between Santa and Krampus, with all out carnage. In fact the film was a collection of small stories, all spliced together. Unfortunately they weren’t put together is an interesting or logical way so for most parts of the film I ended up explaining what was happening to my mum as one story jumped into another and then back again.

In brief; Dangerous Dan (Shatner) is an alcoholic radio DJ at Bailey Downs radio station on Christmas Eve. His screen-time acts as a wrapper for 4 short stories to be told. They are woven in as they are mentioned during his radio broadcast.

Story 1. Three teens break into a school to investigate murders that happened on the premises last year. Without spoiling it, there is a ghost that likes to take control of people, occasionally have sex, and randomly kill people.

Story 2. A family go to illegally chop down a Christmas tree but it turns out that not all trees are just wood and foliage. Shape-shifters live in the woods so when the child of the tree stealers goes missing they foolishly think that they have their son.

Story 3. A dysfunctional family manage to anger Krampus, leading the mythical creature to hunt them down.

Story 4. Santa is preparing for Christmas, but has to contend with bloodthirsty zombie elves as well as having to fight his mortal enemy, Krampus.

I think this could have been soo much better if it had been arranged differently – but, based on the reviews, it worked for other viewers so maybe it’s just my family that had trouble with it. The acting wasn’t awful (Shatner was unquestionable the top face/voice on-screen). Some of the effects were OK too; a little gore-heavy and 80’s influenced, but not awful. The stories weren’t that bad when analysed individually – predictable and clichéd maybe though, but they worked well separately. It’s just the editing and pace of the film which really took the enjoyment out of it for us. It was like everything had been thrown into a big Christmas cooking pot and left to simmer – unfortunately losing some of the flavour along the way.

I can only give this a 4 out of 10. There were moments that I wondered why I’d suggested watching this – there were some good moments, but just not enough. I like bad films, but this was only an average bad film. Hopefully I’ll find a better attempt under the tree next year.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/10)

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