Christmas Bloody Christmas
christmas bloody christmas | joe begos | riley dandy | sam delich | jonah ray | slasher | robot | united states | dora madison | jeff daniel phillips | abraham benrubi | jeremy gardner | graham skipper | kansas dowling | josh ethier | christmas | elliott gilbert
Film: Christmas Bloody Christmas
Director: Joe Begos
Writer: Joe Begos
Starring: Riley Dandy, Sam Delich and Jonah Ray
This is a movie that I was intrigued when I heard about it. It is the newest film from Joe Begos who I’m a fan of. It is a Christmas movie. He also pulled in two actors that I’m a big fan, Graham Skipper and Jeremy Gardner, in cameo roles. I did read the synopsis ahead of watching this, but that was about the extent of what I knew. I’m always down for a Christmas horror movie.
Synopsis: it’s Christmas Eve and Tori (Riley Dandy) just wants to get drunk and party, but when a robotic Santa Claus (Abraham Benrubi) at a nearby toy store goes haywire and begins a rampant killing spree through her small town, she’s forced to battle for survival.
We start this movie off with fake commercials. What I like here is that we learn about robot soldier that has been used to destabilize areas by the military. They are quite effective. The company then decided to convert them to be Santa Claus for toy stores and malls. They’re called RoboSanta+.
The movie then shifts to Tori who runs a record store. She banters with her employee, Robbie Reynolds (Sam Delich). He mocks her because she is set to go on a date with a guy who is a bit suspect. Apparently, he has multiple kids and a deadbeat. She doesn’t care as she has needs to be met. Robbie does change her mind though. The two of them head over to the toy store, where they have mutual friends. Lahna (Dora Madison) works there and Jay (Jonah Ray) is her boyfriend. Now that the store is closed, they’re going to use it fool around. Tori and Robbie drop off a gift of whiskey and head to the local bar.
The night goes well for this couple, but not so much for Lahna and Jay. We see at the bar there is a news report about these Santa robots are reverting to their war programming. That is when we see Santa in the store wake up. He kills the couple there and then heads out into the night. The couple at the bar head home and the Santa follows them, leaving a trail of death. Can this Santa be stopped before it is too late?
That is where I’m going to leave my recap for this movie as well as introducing the characters. This has a simple story and applaud writer/director Begos for knowing what he’s doing. This is a slasher film with a robot Santa. They don’t need to make it more complicated than that. It worked for the enjoyment factor and you once again can see Begos’ influences on his sleeve which I also appreciate. I heard Mr. Parka say that this is his take on Terminator and that is spot on. The debate is if that is a horror movie or not. He took that and ran with it.
Where I want to start is with a gripe that I could see people having. From my understanding, slasher purists think that you need to have human killer. This one is a robotic Santa Claus. What I will counter with is that it uses mostly stab and slash items. I know he starts with an ax and shifts over to a knife at one point. There is also a good body count. It has elements of a slow burn that I come to expect with a slasher as well. The runtime is short so it didn’t waste any time in my opinion there. This also seems to throwback to films in the sub-genre where we have a simple reason for the killings and just having fun from there.
Now with that taken care, I want to stick with the slasher category. The best ones to me either have good and interesting characters or they just lean into the kills. I would counter that this one does a bit of both. I love the back and forth between Tori and Robbie. You can feel that there is chemistry there. He wants to hook up with her at the least. She is his boss so I think she is maintaining a distance for that reason. People in this world can also feel that too. There are others that we only meet briefly, but they also feel real. This could be like Jay, Lahna, Sheriff Monroe (Jeff Daniel Phillips), Officer Smith (Gardner), Mike (Skipper) and Larry (Josh Ethier). Part of that there is we just a solid group of independent actors who bring their characters to life. Regardless, I’ll give credit. I should just say here that there isn’t a bad performance.
Then on to the other part of what makes a good slasher, the kills. I’m going to also pull in the effects here. Knowing that Begos was behind this, we got brutal kills which I appreciated. Since we have a robot Santa doing the killings, that makes things we see more plausible. There were times that I popped with excitement seeing different ways this villain kills. Things looked to be mostly practical. If there was CGI, I couldn’t tell which I appreciate. The blood and gore was good. It helps make this more fun.
I think that all I have left to go over would be the other filmmaking aspects. I’d say that the cinematography was good. I’ll also include the lighting here. We get great filtered lights. I know there was red one as well as one that was green that sticks out. I can see Begos’ influences on his sleeves with that. How this is shot is great. Other than that, I’d say the soundtrack fit for what was needed as well. This is a well-made movie.
In conclusion, this movie knows what it is doing and has fun with it. We get a simple story. We have this robot Santa that turns into a killing machine. There are likeable characters that have fun banter. The effects are practical and look great. They also go brutal. The cinematography and the lighting on point. Don’t come into this one expecting a lot. This is a modern slasher that is throwing back to what made it work. A shut off your brain and just go with the flow type movie.
My Rating: 8 out of 10