The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - KILLER CHRISTMAS | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - KILLER CHRISTMAS

killer christmas review
A trip to pick a Christmas tree turns deadly for a group of young friends.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: PeterPaul Shaker, Tony Shaker

Starring: PeterPaul Shaker, Freya Lund, Tony Shaker, Matt Maretz

killer christmas poster

The Christmas horror is a persistent subgenre. As it stands, Christmas itself is a period when even the most rational of us give way to weird and supernatural tradition, lending credence to strange energies and occult imagery. Gremlins, Krampus, Dead End, are all films that use their festive setting as a stage for the sort of chaos that is invited at this time of year, where the repressions of the preceding months are completely thawed, allowing excess to rule. When you actually think about it, Santa Claus is a sinister fellow, too (What’s in it for him? That’s what I’ve always wanted to know), and there’s all that deep red everywhere. With Bob Clark’s seminal Black Christmas (still brilliant: disturbing, strange and weirdly sexy) the slasher film’s origins are inextricably linked to Yuletide, and the ongoing congruity is clear: Christmas, like the slasher film, is a circumstance of rigid tradition, acted out over and over again, with soothing ritualism. Christmas Evil (yes!), Silent Night Deadly Night, that Joan Collins episode in the old Amicus portmanteaus (Tales from the Crypt) have continually explicated the synergy by having their masked killers dress up as old Saint Nick himself! And so, to the Shaker Brother’s Killer Christmas, another seasonal cash-in wherein a bunch of yoots get terrorised by some dick head in a Santa outfit as they mope about an abandoned hotel.

killer christmas

Like the pair of socks unwrapped on Christmas morning, there is a grim, yet not entirely uncomforting, inevitability to the proceedings of Killer Christmas. The film’s budget would seem to have been administered by Ebenezer Scrooge, but the happenstance of actual snow always adds value on screen, and, in a bonus early scene, we see a lone female jogger chased by the killer through a snow laden copse. Seriously, there is nothing funnier than watching people actually attempting to run through ice hardened snow, forced to affect a lolloping gait that robs the pursuit of any murderous urgency; ho ho ho, indeed! This early sequence set me up with real festive cheer, and led on to further lovely snowy settings being made the most of as a group of pretty young things travel to the boondocks looking to source a pine-fresh Christmas tree.

killer christmas

Problem is, when the gang soon enter the aforementioned abandoned hotel (at random - they spot the imposing edifice when they are purchasing a conifer and decide to pop in there just for the bants), the festivity of Killer Christmas grinds to a twelfth night halt. The interiors of the hotel are dimly lit with just juvenile graffiti on the walls; no tinsel, no pine needles, or any of that nasty fake snow that gets everywhere. Nothing remotely Christmassy about it - save for a few token garish jumpers which a couple of the boys wear. The majority of Killer Christmas simply involves our mob wandering cold hallways - separately or in pairs - muttering about how much of a big joke ambling about such a dump is, and doing things like pointing at a massive, badly-scrawled nob upon on a wall, laughing like a drain and commenting about how ‘brilliant’ the place is (have they never been to a gent’s public toilet?!). When they get offed it is very unceremonious, too, with the kills just coming out of nowhere. The kids (I say kids, but they are grown up enough to drive a car and also have the independence to purchase their own Christmas tree) are unfortunately an annoying lot too, a very shrill bunch. At one point a girl says, "better be buying me the nicest fucking Christmas present for putting me through this shit": well season’s greetings to you too, love!

killer christmas

The slasher dynamic is generally built upon a principle of invasion, with boogeymen like Freddy and Michael interrupting the otherwise equilibrium of suburbia with their antics, or, say, the external killer in Black Christmas actively seeking out and terrorising our sorority sisters. The victims shouldn’t go to the killer; if so, then the genre dynamic is instantly ruined, as we wonder why they don’t just get out of Dodge. The idea of a lonely hobo bothering to spray paint his humble squat with crudely drawn images of tits and nobs, chancing his arm that, in an event of extreme implausibility, out of towners (it is established that the natives don’t go near the hotel) would stumble across the threshold so he could murder them to death is a tickle (you have to have hope, right? Especially at Christmas), but it’s also a massive stretch. In fairness, at the end of Killer Christmas there is a twist that is as mad as a bunch of elves, and which either explains the set up or confuses it further; I’m not completely sure, and I’m not convinced the filmmakers were either. Ho ho ho? No no no.

Killer Christmas is on VOD now.