Monday, February 22, 2016

A Christmas Horror Story - Review - @BrandonCSites

A Christmas Horror Story (2015) *
D: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan
C: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer, Zoé De Grand Maison, Adrian Holmes, Amy Forsyth, Alex Ozerov, Olunike Adeliyi, Corrine Conley, Julian Richings, Shannon Cook, Debra McCabe

Plot Synopsis: Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

Review: Making a horror movie that takes place on a Holiday is always a great idea as their ripe for social commentary. Christmas is no exception. 

In this day & age, it seems as though people have forgotten that Christmas is supposed to represent of the birth of Christ. Instead, it's driven by consumerism. They go into debt buying presents. They try to compete with one another over who has the best decorations. It gives people an excuse to get drunk and overeat. They use mistletoe as a reason to engage in promiscuous behavior. They put up a false facade of selflessness. Quite frankly, Christmas brings out the worst in people.

One of the key ideas of the horror genre is to give a context to the evil surrounding us. Horror and Christmas lend themselves to one another. Yet, A Christmas Horror Story is another example of a movie that fails to tap into the darker recesses of the holiday that it's centered around.

The first story involves a haunted school ...and sex! Tale two involves a young boy possessed by a changeling. The third tale has Krampus picking off a family. 
The forth segment features Santa fighting zombie elves & Krampus, but, wait, as if that wasn't enough, they throw in a plot twist! All of these stories are connected to a radio host played by William Shatner.

There's no real reason why any of these stories are centered around Christmas other then to make a quick buck. All of the segments could easily take place on any other day of the year. The Christmas elements are superficial at best. The Krampus demon, of the third & forth segments, could be any other demon. I can't go into great detail about the segment involving Santa, without giving away the twist, but I will say that Santa could easily be replaced with any other Joe Schmo. The writers, directors & producers haven't used the idea of blending Christmas & horror to explore a train of thought or to make a personal statement. They've simply centered it around Christmas to 
exploit it for commercial reasons.

Speaking of exploiting. When describing these segments, they seem trashy enough on the surface. Some of the things that come into play, include a horny ghost who wants to get laid, a kid trying to murder his parents, a no good family getting their just deserts, Santa duking it out with horror movie villains & William Shatner!

However, there's NO flair to any of these over the top shenanigans. The sex is never gratuitous. The kid never gets to engage in any tantalizing violence. The family is never presented as vile caricatures that make you want to see them meet their demise. Santa, fighting it out to the death, is never given battle royale visuals. William Shatner never gets to deliver on his raunchy style of humor. Everything is rather restrained and for what reason?!?

A Christmas Horror Story
doesn't fail, because it fails to take advantage of its holiday. It doesn't fail, because the material was awful. It fails, because of lifeless direction. It fails, because it's flat out boring! 
[Not Rated] 99 minutes.

AKA: A Holiday Horror Story

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