MVD Visual // 2012 // 91 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // November 16th, 2012
The bloodiest Christmas story ever told.
Aside from the obvious Halloween setting, Christmas seems like the perfect holiday for horror. Loving families celebrating the season and all the religious implications are ripe for subversion through terror and gore, and yet there are very few decent examples of holiday horror. Now we have another example in Bloody Christmas. It's not the worst one I've ever seen, but like most of them, it's pretty poor.
During the holiday season, a small town is under siege by a child murderer. With the police on the trail to find the fiend, two stories begin to converge. First, a local television Santa (Steve Montague, Ultrachrist!) begins having fantasies about killing his employers and loses his job, causing his life to become a shambles. Second, a priest (Robert Youngren, I Spill Your Guts) is trying to organize his Christmas charity work, but all his usual helpers have abandoned him for mysterious reasons, causing him to start plotting their deaths. As the two come together, it will be the most violent holiday season ever.
I should have known better. When the box stated that Bloody Christmas was from the producers of Bad Biology, I thought that it might be similarly ridiculous and deliver some good, campy fun. Well, it's ridiculous, that's for sure. Otherwise, it's pretty awful all the way around. But producers aren't the names one should bank on to make a good movie and, sure enough, my intuition was dead wrong.
It's an amateur production and deserves a little leeway as a result, but there really isn't much to redeem it on any level. From the quality of performances and the information revealed in the interviews on the disc, most of the actors are friends of first-time writer/director Michael Shershenovich and it really shows, both in quality and in character. I'm not one to judge how churchgoers are supposed to look, but I have a hard time believing that a priest's congregation is made up exclusively of tattooed, pierced punks.
The real trouble, though, is in the story, which makes no sense at all. There's some violence and sacrilege thrown around here and there, but not nearly enough to make up for the useless plot. It runs around in circles, intercutting the two stories seemingly at random, finally connecting them at the very end with no warning or sense. It wouldn't bother me so much if there had been more actual horror in the movie before the final twenty minutes, but there's virtually none and it left me feeling like I'd just wasted a whole lot of time.
Bloody Christmas arrives on DVD from MVD Visual in a subpar, technically deficient edition. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer fares poorly, with murky colors, uneven black levels, and a ton of compression issues. Even with a pristine transfer, the film wouldn't have looked good, but in this state, it's hardly worth watching. The stereo sound mix is only slightly better. It's consistently soft with dialog that is often difficult to understand and the music is barely audible. For extras, we have a few deleted scenes, some brief interviews, and a trailer.
Bloody Christmas will find nothing but a lump of coal in its stocking this year. There's a tiny bit of entertainment value, I suppose, but it's poorly filmed and very confusing. I can't recommend it on any level.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes