Synopsis: 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.
Stars: Riley Dandy, Sam Delich, Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Dora Madison, Jeremy Gardner, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Abraham Benrubi
Director: Joe Begos
Running Length: 81 minutes
TMMM Score: (2/10)
Review: This may get me an extra lump of coal in my stocking, but I’ve come to enjoy a more subversive Christmas movie morsel to counteract the saccharine sweetness that can feel overwhelming right around Thanksgiving. Don’t get it peppermint-twisted; I’m one of the first people to scan Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas list once it is released and will note any film starring Lacey Chabert or plots involving amnesiac grumpy corporate executives getting a dose of their figgy pudding. Still, it’s more than a bit of fun to see what creative filmmakers can do with a satanic Santa on the loose or elves running amok causing mayhem.
I had high hopes for Christmas Bloody Christmas because the general plot summary seemed like such a slam dunk. It’s one of those loglines that gets scribbled down on a paper napkin at a bar late one night and feels like a good idea at the time, but once it comes time to write the thing and make it, well… that’s where the problems start. Unfortunately, Christmas Bloody Christmas is a fruitcake of a meal, sticky and filled with indigestible bits that don’t go down well.
Director Joe Begos has gained a sizable cult following with his previous two films, Bliss and VFW but can’t capture the same goofy horror charms here, despite a winning performance from Riley Dandy. Dandy plays Tori, a record store owner unexpectedly fighting off a robotic Santa Claus (Abraham Benrubi, Strange World) that’s gone haywire in her small town, viciously murdering anyone that gets in his way. For what seems like an eternity, Begos follows Tori all over the tiny hamlet evading ‘ole St. Nick in what amounts to an extended version of the finale from The Terminator.
That may sound like a welcome wild ride, but the low-budget thrills and exceptionally crude dialogue take Christmas Bloody Christmas down the crummy chimney with zero care for any sophisticated skill. It squanders any leg up it gets on similar shoddy Christmas fare with more gross shenanigans or foul-mouthed back-and-forth between characters. A movie so short should not drag on so long. By the end, I wished for them to dash away all.