What better way to start a Christmas-themed movie week than picking up where the Halloween special week left off and the trailer preview of A Christmas Horror Story hinted at?
A Christmas Horror Story
(Canada 2015, directors: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan)
Watching a trailer, having high expectations and confidence in the final product can work, but it can also work against the intentions of the authors and result in disappointment of the audience. A Christmas Horror Story has the right ingredients with interesting ideas and a good mix of suspense, horror and splatter. But it doesn’t quite add up.
The reason for this is constant switching between characters and storylines. If there was a concept behind it as in Tales of Halloween or Trick ‘r Treat, this wouldn’t be much of a problem. But even with a short running time of around 100 minutes, the stories drag on. It’s annoying to see one suspenseful moment or scene suddenly interrupted by the change of place with rather boring dialogue and forgettable characters. William Shatner’s role as a radio host is fun to watch, but his connection to the stories isn’t obvious, either, only slowing down the action. Granted, it all comes together at the (very sick) end, but more coherence and less jumping back and forth would have made it a more enjoyable experience.
The individual stories have potential, but only one, the Santa vs. zombie elves, works perfectly with lots of action, fun one-liners and a surprisingly high amount of blood and gore. The story about the family who brings something else than their son back is quite good as well with some sick situation comedy and a few jumpscares. The other family story about people being chased by Krampus is just as superficial, with some well-made make-up special effects and tense moments, although it’s too short to leave any lasting impression. Unfortunately, the story about the student group who investigates a school at night is simply dull with only the setting creating atmosphere. It’s only remotely related to Christmas with an ending that doesn’t make any sense at all.
One shouldn’t expect a full-length horror comedy or a memorable anthology of well-written stories when going into A Christmas Horror Story, as the humor isn’t very prominent and the horror elements not very scary. On the one hand, there’s enough snow with Christmas lights and a few songs to create atmosphere, some very well-made special effects and cool ideas. On the other hand, the movie suffers from too many narrative jumps and often disappointing endings. It’s much better than All Hallows’ Eve, but nothing compared to Tales of Halloween or even Christmas-themed horror flicks like Black Christmas and P2.
If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using one of the Amazon links and buying the product also helps ;).