Movie Review: ‘Christmas Bloody Christmas’

Director: Joe Begos

Cast: Riley Dandy, Sam Delich, Jonah Ray, Dora Madison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Abraham Benrubi

Cast: A couple of young folk try to make the most of Christmas Eve, but their revelry is interrupted by a rampaging evil robot Santa Claus.

Review: By this point, the Evil Santa concept is a sub-genre onto itself. Taking a character who is widely recognised as a wholesome embodiment of childhood and flipping them into a menacing figure is certainly appealing a has the potential to be a lot of fun. We’re big fans of Krampus, Violent Night, and many of the other takes on this idea, and Christmas Bloody Christmas is certainly another one. We were keen to check this out because the central role of evil Santa is taken up by Abraham Benrubi, who we knew from ER and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What we got wasn’t one of the stand-out examples of evil Santa, but something that fits the spirit of the season.

The biggest issue we had with the film is our main character Tori Tooms (Dandy), a young record store owner who has some strong opinions about pop culture. She feels like a throwback to early characters written by Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, a character who would wax lyrical about pop culture and obscure music, and her confidence on these topics should make her endearing. The reality is that she’s immensely annoying and childish sounding, punctuating every sentence with several ‘fucks’ to the point that it started to really grind my gears. All of this is to frame her ‘quirky’ opinions about pop culture that are outright bad takes. It seems that the approach is to make her interesting by giving her unorthodox viewpoints. They rattle off several horror franchises and she aggressively insists that bad parts of the series are the best. This could be a way to approach a character, but it becomes difficult to believe when she claims Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows is better than The Blair Witch Project. Just…no.

We follow Tori and her employee Robbie (Delich) closing up the record store on Christmas Eve and heading out for a couple of drinks, with Robbie attempting to charm Tori while enduring her endless bad takes on horror movies. We also meet their friends Jay and Lahna (Ray and Madison) who have a plot thread concerning having sex in a toy shop. Meanwhile, the toy shop’s robotic mall Santa is about to go on a killing spree. At the beginning of the movie we learned via news channel that some defence department technology was turned into robot mall Santa’s but some had malfunctioned a reverted back to weapons. This obviously raises many, many questions but considering how crowbarred into the movie this explanation is, we’re not getting those answers.

This clunky bit of scripting sets the tone for how things are going to play out. There’s essentially no set-up or pay off, the characters attacked by Santa are typically introduced in the same scene. For a good hour we cut between Tori and Robbie and disconnected characters who have been brought into the movie just to be killed by Santa. There’s no consistency or connection to the characters, they’re the worst kind of red shirts. Although things pick up in the second half of the movie when Santa gets around to attacking the known characters and becomes more of a mechanical threat, but this leave the first half feeling like padding.

What Santa brings down the chimney this time is more schlocky that similar movies on offer. It’s good background while you’re wrapping presents, but if you want something better put together then check out Violent Night.

Rating: FOUR out of TEN