Written & Directed By: Joe Begos
Starring: Riley Dandy, Sam Delich, Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Dora Madison, and Jeremy Gardner, with Jeff Daniel Phillips, and Abraham Benrubi
In Theaters and Streaming on Shudder– December 9, 2022
Run Time: 87 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
By Chris Hammond
It’s Christmas Eve and record store owner Tori Tooms (Riley Dandy) wants to party and drink. Her coworker Robbie Reynolds (Sam Delich) offers to join the festivities. Early on in their journey, the duo stops in to visit a friend working at a toy store. They notice a very robotic Santa Claus on display.
Later in the night while at Tori’s home she sees her neighbour’s kid murdered by a man dressed in a Santa suit. This is the robotic killing machine from the toy store. It’s malfunctioned and set to kill.
Now the night turns into a neon-lathered survival of the fittest. Robo Santa’s killing spree paints the town red in blood while tooms and town folk fight for their lives.
Christmas, Bloody, Christmas is one of those films that on paper sound ludicrous. It shouldn’t work and yet writer/Director Joe Begos pulls off the films in an amazing fashion. First, this film is full of swearing, sex, blood and neon. Literally, there is a form of neon light in pretty much every scene. It works and works well, especially in a Christmas-themed film. The plot is absurd, why would toy store companies send out Santa Claus for display that is powerful enough to kill? The answer to this is “who cares” this is a holiday horror film, it doesn’t need to make perfect sense. It does need to entertain and go for the jugular.
Begos knows and leans into the material with all his might. The cast commits to their roles and makes the film even more entertaining. Riley Dandy is especially effective as the final girl Tori Tooms. Move over Sarah Connor and Laurie Strode, there’s a new kid in town that’s all about kicking ass. Dandy has a presence that borders on hypnosis. She steals scenes and becomes a strong adversary for ole Saint Robo-Nick.
Although a good part of the film is Tori (Riley Dandy) and Robbie (Sam Delich) drinking and high, they discuss music and even bash Christmas (well at least movies). There’s a relationship there between the two. The two cast members play it up and the dialogue between them feels natural. Will they survive Robo-Nick’s wraith or will their blood splatter the walls?
Composer Steve Moore, who scored other Joe Begos films (VFW, Bliss) is back at it. The dirty grungy neon set gets complimented with this gruesome score. It matches the feel of the film in perfect hideous glee.
The film knows what it is and never wavers from the 90-minutes of terror it outputs. Begos pays homage to other films (The Terminator, Halloween and Tales from the Crypt 1972). Make no mistake though, Christmas, Bloody, Christmas is its own film. It doesn’t complicate itself and is an all-around Holiday treat.
Joe Begos has constructed a film that begs to be a classic. Christmas, Bloody, Christmas isn’t concerned with plot holes it is pure entertainment. The audience will get a whirlwind of neon mixed with blood, and horror. There’s also non-stop action, suspense and scenes you have to see to believe. It delivers and delivers everything it sets out to achieve. Riley Dandy slashes and smashes her way onto the top five of the last girl list. She has boatloads of charisma and hopefully will stick around in the horror genre for years to come.
Christmas, Bloody, Christmas is the horror film of the Holiday Season and the year. Do not miss it or you may end up on the naughty list.
Catch this one
In Theaters and Streaming on Shudder- December 9, 2022