"On the ninth day of Creepmas, Krampus gave to me:
A remake of a slasher movie!"
- Channy Dreadful
For those who have not heard of this movie, well…. I will inform you. This is a Christmas slasher movie filmed in Manitoba. As in Manitoba, Canada. It's a loose remake of the 1984 film Silent Night, Deadly Night (not to be confused with a film we already covered) and it stars a couple people I recognize immediately. Literally only two. The one and only Malcolm McDowell (that's right) and Ellen Wong (a Canadian actress who played Knives Chau in the Scott Pilgrim movie). I really don't recognize anyone else.
This slasher film is set in a small town that boasts about having “the best Santa parade”. Our first scene is our slasher shaving in a gross sink. We are complemented by the sound of a girl tied up in another room. The slasher, who I will refer to as Mr. Claws, proceeds into the other room to retrieve some items: a Santa mask and fake beard, after which he does affix the beard to the mask. This leads us to our scene with our first kill of the movie: a man strapped to a chair in the basement. Mr. Claws makes his way down the stairs -- never speaking -- picks up an axe, and walks close to man. The man sputters some nonsense about “not knowing the woman was married” or whatever, obviously scared of the axe. To his relief, he doesn't get chopped down -- at that moment as Mr. Claws walks over to the wall. He then proceeds to turn on some high-voltage device attached to the man in the chair. He goes through convulsions, looks up at the camera, his eye EXPLODES towards the viewer, more convulsions, then dies.
What a great opening scene. If this doesn't sound like your kind of holiday movie, that's okay. At least read the rest just to enjoy the spirit of the season. Trust me when I say it is an entertaining movie to say the least. I won't be doing a scene-by-scene, but I will go over a few scenes for enjoyment.
After the title screen, we are introduced to our main character. She is getting called into work (the police department) by Malcolm's character, who is clearly the chief. After that little exchange, and a bit more after, we get a scene where a woman is interrupted from taking her meds by her daughter -- who looks no older than thirteen -- fighting about how she want to go shopping at the mall and yelling at her mom. What a terrible child. As her mother goes upstairs to get ready, someone knocks at the door. Thirteen-year-old answers and guess who? Mr. Claws is standing there. He reaches into his Santa bag and retrieves a taser. He zaps her and kills her. We don't get to see all of it, but it's enough to make you happy a little.
If Malcolm McDowell and my description of the last scene don't make you want to watch this movie, maybe the next one I go over will.
This scene takes place a little later on. We get to see the mayor’s oldest daughter in a room with three others. They are a model, a photographer, and one on a video camera. She walks over to a counter, does a line of coke, and says something that prompts the photographer to tell her to take her envelope. It has money in it for her work. As she leaves, Mr. Claws walks up the outside stairs past her. We don't follow the mayor’s daughter, we follow the other three.
Mr. Claws knocks at the door, more than once. Annoyed, the photographer tells the woman with the video camera to go answer it. She does and get stuck by Mr. Claws. He walks into the room. The model (who is now topless) runs into the bathroom, and the photographer has no idea why. He turns around and takes the same weapon to the genitals. After that, Mr. Claws bursts into the bathroom, which prompts the model to slip in the tub and pull the shower curtain down. He walks over and starts strangling her with the curtain. He is interrupted by the photographer who shoots a hole in the wall, wo he leaves to finish with him. Desperate for a way to escape, she starts climbing out the window but stops due to the sound of the struggle and hoping Mr. Claws has died. When he appears in the doorway again, she falls out the window into a pile of garbage. Thus leading us to a topless chase scene. Spoilers: the chase ends with her going through a woodchipper.
Does that catch your fancy? If not, maybe some of the other parts will. Like the deaths. The creepy priest gets killed, the mayor gets killed while on the phone with the chief (which he takes as his phone losing signal; cursed technology not working the way it's supposed to), another Santa gets killed. The mayor’s daughter dies by getting mounted on the wall. My favorite though is when her boyfriend dies. He gets an ever-so-classic skull-splitting axe chop. I love it due to the excessive blood and hilarity.
Now, let's get down to the gritty stuff. This movie lacks good character introduction. Not that it matters too much, as most of them die, but you don't really know or care about the characters. There are two instances I noticed where something in the background is overlooked. First being the window of the car the mayor’s daughter is getting into right before the aforementioned chase scene. One shot it's completely rolled down. Cut to Mr. Claws and back to her, the window completely rolled up. The second was when when they have a lead for what Santa they are after. Their main suspects name is the board is supposed to have two “S”s in it. Malcolm scribbles in one. In some shots it's the original scribble, in others, a neater second “S” is seen.
The story goes (actually, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) is that Mr. Claws is the son of someone whose father was killed on Christmas by our main character’s father, so this is kind of a revenge film, but not really. He kills according to the “naughty” list. Overall, not much story at all, but not too important as it is a slasher flick.
After all is said and done, I still really enjoyed this movie. It's funny and gross, but it's what I want from a Christmas horror. The practical effects are cool; the blood is excessive and over-the-top. What's not to love? Everything added up, I rate this 7 Santa beards out of 10.
This has been Dirge Durell. Happy holidays everyone.