|Review by Joshua Gravel|
It is Christmas and strange things are happening everywhere you look. As Danger Dan (William Shatner) pulls his annual double shift as town DJ for the holiday we are treated to four stories about horrific holiday happenings around Bailey Falls.
One story is about a group of high school students who sneak into a closed part of their school to do research about a double murder that took place there a year earlier on Christmas Eve and soon find that they aren’t alone.
While another story concerns a family, the husband of which was the first responding officer to the previous years double murder, who venture into the woods looking for their own Christmas tree; only the parents become separated from their son and when they find him he just doesn’t seem the same.
Meanwhile, a bickering family have driven to visit an Aunt they rarely see only to run afoul of Krampus and in our fourth storyline Santa’s own workshop elves have become possessed and are on a zombie-like attack.
A Christmas Horror Story is a very slickly produced anthology film whose stories are interconnected and woven throughout the running time in an effective manner. The movie has a cohesive feel and look to most of it with only the Santa sequences breaking into their own visual style, but not in a distracting or negative way. The acting is handled well throughout and the writing is solid as one never feels that characters are making stupid decisions or acting against character type, which is sometimes tough to pull off with multiple writers and three directors.
Also the special effects in A Christmas Horror Story are worth noting for their extensive use of practical make up and prosthetics. There are of course some CGI augmentations here and there but they are not distracting and it is wonderful to see a fully realized Krampus when many low budget filmmakers would have opted for a CGI creature.
Truthfully, A Christmas Horror Story takes more from recent Halloween anthologies such as Trick ‘r Treat (2007) and Tales Of Halloween (2015) for its set up and story telling style than from its namesake A Christmas Story (1983), but that is fine by me and may start a new tradition of holiday horror anthologies. Plus, for horror fans you can note that A Christmas Horror Story takes place in Bailey Downs, the same town as the film Ginger Snaps (2000) since many of the writers, producers, and the directors of this movie worked on the Ginger Snaps series.
I highly recommend you check out A Christmas Horror Story, as it is effectively creepy while being loads of fun.