Christmas Bloody Christmas - New Release Review
Director: Joe Begos
Starring: Riley Dandy, Sam Delich, Abraham Benrubi, Jeff Daniel Phillips
Written by: Joe Begos
Produced by: Josh Ethier, Joe Begos
Cinematography by: Brian Sowell
Original Score by: Steve Moore
It's Christmas Eve and Tori just wants to get drunk and party, but when a robotic Santa Clause at a nearby toy store goes haywire and begins a rampant killing spree through her small town, she's forced into a battle for survival.
When you see the words "Written and Directed by Joe Begos" lighting up the opening credits of your screen, you just know you're going to be in for a great fucking time and his latest flick 'Christmas Bloody Christmas' is no different. In fact it might be his most insane film yet.
Think 'Silent Night, Deadly Night' meets 'The Terminator' and that might give you an idea of what to expect here. But even after being blown away by the mental trailer I still wasn't ready for some of the sequences that Begos manages to deliver and I genuinely think he has created a Christmas horror classic.
Riley Dandy plays Tori, a gorgeous and fiery independent record store owner whose main objective in life is to just have fun, whichever and whatever means necessary. She takes no shit from anyone and is very much her on boss. Her employee Robbie is once and for all trying to score a date with her on Christmas Eve and Tori eventually succumbs to his charm, so the two share some drinks with mutual friends before heading back to Tori's for a night cap.
The first 30 odd minutes of the film is basically all set up, laying character groundwork and dropping some hints that something sinister is happening in the background. With the help of a few subtle news reports and the not-so-subtle animation of an evil robotic life-size Santa, we know that Tori and Robbie's Christmas Eve is about to get very wild. Like really fucking wild.
Those mutual friends that I mentioned above are the first victims of Terminator Santa and soon after that he is on the rampage with Tori and Robbie firmly in his sights. Along the way a few casualties occur in the goriest of ways. Awesome deaths with blood spewing and gnarly effects. One that especially sticks out is when one of Tori's neighbours get his head crushed against the stairs as he runs away from Santa with an axe in his back. It's brutal. And we even get some amazing first person shots from the POV of Santa.
Like Begos' previous work 'Christmas Bloody Christmas' is a gorgeous film to look at. The neon lighting in this film really is something special and almost every shot is a work of art. It doesn't really all make sense. Why would there be so many LED neon lights hanging everywhere? Who cares. And who invented these robotic Santas and why? Again, who cares. This isn't a film that exists to answer any of these questions. Its sole purpose it to entertain and it absolutely does that in spades.
The exchanges between Tori and Robbie in the early part of the film do get a bit annoying and there was a part of me just wishing they would get on with it. However when Santa unleashes his wrath there's no going back. Even when Tori attempts to get the local cops involved, who just happen to be totally useless (what a surprise!), Santa doesn't let up. He just keeps coming and coming and he won't be put down.
And just when you think Santa can't get anymore insane, he only goes and shoots neon green lasers out of his eyes!!!
Begos has created one of the most rock 'n' roll horror films of the year that will surely be a must-watch every single Christmas going forward. The very end was a tiny bit anti-climatic but the chaotic sequences leading up to that final scene were nail bitingly exhilarating and Riley Dandy's performance is exceptional.
- Gavin Logan
'Christmas Bloody Christmas' premieres on Shudder Friday December 9th