October 3, 2015

VOD Review: A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

It doesn't matter whether you've been naughty or nice, because A Christmas Horror Story is one holiday-themed Anthology that will give you both presents and coal at the same time.

Ever since the success of Trick 'r Treat, Horror filmmakers have been trying their damnedest to come up with their own equally compelling Horror Anthologies, most of which haven't even come close to measuring up to the lofty bar set by Mike Dougherty's modern day classic. Quality Anthologies just aren't that easy to pull off, and neither are Christmas-themed Horror movies. For every Black Christmas, we get a Santa Claws or Santa's Slay to put up with.

A Christmas Horror Story is stuck somewhere in between those extremes.

It's interesting to us that the creator of the superb Horror Anthology, Trick 'r Treat, will be releasing his own full-length Krampus movies in theaters this December. Somehow, we think he'll end up getting it just right.

A Christmas Horror Story is broken down into three main storylines which are told concurrently, and accented by a wraparound involving a pending battle between Santa Claus and Krampus. They're also all kind of related to each other, but not to the extent that it alters the plot.

Story 1- Three teens sneak into their school on Christmas Eve to do some investigative reporting on the grisly murders that happened there a year prior. Now, why they would do that is beyond me, because they cant show anyone the footage, as they're not supposed to be there to begin with, but I digress. They sneak into the locked basement where the murders happen, and begin to search around for clues or whatever, and end up getting locked in.... but not alone! This chapter started off strong enough, but by the end, it kind of felt like a typical episode of Goosebumps or something similar.

Story 2- On a trip to visit their rich aunt, a family of four unwittingly unleashed the vengeful evil of Krampus, who decides that they all need to die. Being that the entire family are complete assholes (save the daughter, who looked like she was embarrassed to be related to any of them), we're siding with Krampus on this one. This is probably the strongest of the three main stories.

Story 3- The weakest story of the lot involves a Cop who takes his family out into the country to get themselves a Christmas Tree. Of course he illegally trespasses on someones land and steals the tree, which kinda makes him a corrupt Cop, but that's neither here nor there. While stealing the tree, their young son disappears, and when he returns he's not exactly who he seems to be... which basically means death for them all. This one was alright, but it just felt kind of flat throughout.

The Wraparound- The wrap is probably the coolest part of the movie. It involves Santa Claus getting ready to deliver his toys on Christmas Eve, when all of his Elves start turning into bloodthirsty zombies, which forces old Saint Nick to dispatch them in a myriad of bloody ways. When he finds out that its Krampus who is behind the mischief, the stage is set for a battle for the ages... and a really cool ending.

A Christmas Horror Story is an anthology that plays and feels like a Tales From the Crypt movie; it's funny in parts; the stories are all enjoyable, even if they're also predictable; and the ending has a fun little twist that feels wicked in a campy sort of way. It's also got its own version of the Crypt Keeper, in Dangerous Dan; the drunk radio DJ played perfectly by Williams Shatner, who provides much of the movies levity. We really loved the bits with William Shatner, and we honestly can't believe that he's in his mid-80's. The guy is pretty damn spry for being that old, and he honestly doesn't look a day over 60.

We also really liked the twist at the end, which we thought was pretty damn clever.

On the negative side of things, this is a pedestrian, average effort for the most part. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, as plenty of average Horror flicks end up being enjoyable, but this one just felt really generic at times. It was like they could have made it into something great, but just didn't have the tools to do so. As is usually the case, stronger writing would have helped.

Had the movie played out in true Anthology form -as in showing each story unfold, one at a time, while being accented by the wraparound- we think it would have resonated better with us. Going back and forth and back and forth between three separate stories and a wrap-around not only felt clumsy, but it lessened the impact of those stories.

We're also not sure why they didn't release this one closer to Christmas rather than Halloween, as it has a great wintry, yuletide vibe going for it throughout. 

A Christmas Horror Story is a Horror Anthology that provides a decent amount of entertainment, despite its bland flaws. It would probably be better to watch this one a bit closer to Christmas, for obvious reasons, but if you feel compelled to make it a part of your October Horror Repertoire, then it's probably worth giving it a rent.

It's not bad, but it's not great either. 


A Christmas Horror Story is available now on VOD.


The ladies of A Christmas Horror Story.

1 comment :

  1. I share the same opinion about this anthology. that not wow, the stories aren't originals.if u want to watch something new with Christmas theme, u can watch this anthology 1 time.No need to spend 30$ for the bluray . I hope krampus 2015 will be better then krampus 2013. we just have to wait 12 days before tales of Halloween. no None comments on the web are bad .