A Christmas Horror Story - A Silent Fright, Holy Fright Chrismassy Review
Director: Grant Harvey, Steve Hoban, Brett Sullivan
Starring: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer, Zoé De Grand Maison, Shannon Kook, Alex Ozerov-Meyer
Written by: James Kee, Sarah Larsen, Doug Taylor, Pascal Trottier
Produced by: Steve Hoban, Mark Smith
Cinematography by: Gavin Smith
Original Score by: Alex Khaskin
Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.
There's something special about horror anthologies and those set during the holiday season are usually associated with Halloween. But in 2015 Fantasia played host to the World Premiere of 'A Christmas Horror Story' featuring a kid who gets spooked while cutting down a Christmas tree, an unhappy family stuck in the snowy woods after their car breaks down, a group of media students investigating a local legend and a wounded, jaded Santa who has to deal with a bunch of infected elves. It's a Christmas miracle.
'A Christmas Horror Story' plays out a little differently than your usual anthology in that it doesn't contain entirely individual segments per se but each story is edited together to create one long feature film. Each story has a compelling narrative that involves the festive period and they're all held loosely together by Dangerous Dan (William Shatner) a radio DJ who loves his eggnog and leans heavy into the real meaning of Christmas.
I was pleasantly surprised by the writing and pacing of the film, particularly the stories featuring the media students and the family with the "haunted" child. Both these offerings do a great job at building the tension slowly and while they both use tropes familiar with the genre they also create an intense atmosphere that has some successful scary pay offs. These two are the most impressive technically, cinematically and thematically and each have various creepy scenes that would pop out in any modern theatrical horror film release.
I said I don't want a goddam cookie, you reindeer fucking snow whore! - Shiny the Elf
The story featuring Santa and his band of zombie elves doesn't really add any scare factor to the overall film but does deliver some fun, action sequences and when Krampus enters the fray, all hell breaks loose.
The acting is a bit all over the place in almost every story, with perhaps the only exception being the media students investigating the school, but the production is fairly sleek throughout with only a few notable bad CGI sequences. While all the stories are essentially stand alone there is a connection between them all with the common thread being the town of Bailey Downs. Interestingly enough the same town that 'Ginger Snaps' is set in. Not that strange when you consider the directors all worked on that franchise. That town has seen some shit right?
'A Christmas Horror Story' is a genuinely entertaining festive horror film with creepy sequences clearly made by some passionate filmmakers that deserves to be seen by as many horror fans as possible. It's not super polished and there's some tonal shifts that are a bit jarring but there's enough thrills and gory fun to keep you excited to the finale.