Sunday, December 24, 2017

Movie Review: "A Christmas Horror Story" (2015)

Director: Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan, and Grant Harvey
Year: 2015
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

An anthology of four loosely connected Christmas-themed horror stories.

Nothing says Christmastime quite like a good holiday-themed horror flick. The movie "A Christmas Horror Story" tells four tales from three different directors named Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan. One story is about a trio of teens named Dylon, Ben, and Molly, played by Shannon Kook, Alex Ozerov, and Zoe De Grand Maison, who are investigating an old murder at their high school. Next, there is a tale about a couple, played by Adrian Holmes and Olunike Adeliyi, who go to cut down a Christmas tree but lose their son in the process. When they find him, he looks the same as always, but there is definitely something different about him. Then, there's a story about a family going to visit their wealthy aunt for Christmas. Instead of a nice, sweet visit, they are really going to see her to try and butter her up for some money. Grandma tells the family about the legend of Krampus, who this naughty family may soon meet. Finally, there is a story about Santa, played by George Buza, who must face down an army of zombie elves at the North Pole. Oh yeah, all of these stories go on while William Shatner plays a radio DJ who is supposed to connect the tales more than they already are.

"A Christmas Horror Story" does not tell each story individually in order, but rather jumps between them giving viewers a little snippet of each at a time. This might be alright if every story was super engaging and well constructed. Unfortunately, we only liked one of the stories. This break-up in the narrative causes the pacing to drag to a halt. We wind up sitting through a long, boring stretch of time only to jump to a dull piece of a different story until we finally jump to the interesting piece of the movie, only to be thrust back into a bland story just as the good one was getting interesting. If the film featured four narratives told in a linear fashion, it may give the audience more time to invest in and focus on each of the characters from each of the stories and not rip us out of it just as it was getting good. The stories really aren't connected enough to justify this broken storytelling, especially since none of them even wind up fully connecting. The only part of "A Christmas Horror Story" worth watching is when Santa faces off against the zombie elves, which is fun, wholly entertaining, and has a brilliant, twisted ending. As only one-fourth of the movie is really great, that leaves three-fourths of it to wallow in mediocrity. This could have been a lot better, but apart from the zombie elves, none of it is even that memorable.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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