CULT FACTION

For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

Review: The Nights Before Christmas (2020)

The Nights Before Christmas is the new film from writer director Paul Tanter. The sequel to 2017’s Once Upon a Time at Christmas; it picks up three years later where serial killing partners Santa and Mrs Claus have escaped their asylum and are out for revenge.

First thing to say this is a genially enjoyable movie. There is really good story here, which seems to have come from two writers with genuine love for the character of Santa Claus. Having not seen the first film at no time did I feel lost, nor was there an over use of exposition. For the most part the director has got the pacing right. The fast pace of the film is controlled just right so, for the majority of the movie, it doesn’t feel rushed. That is up to the last twenty minutes, where some of the scenes feel crammed together. There are also some good performances from the cast. Most of the main players put in a good shift, with Keegan Chambers as Courtney worth a special mention.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some problems. Most of the characters seem to be fulfilling some sort of cliché. Whilst this does allow the film to continue on without spending too much time on introductions, at times it just feels lazy. Mrs Claus as a caricature of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is kind of strange, but just doesn’t work how it should. As I said the story is strong, but the script less so. Some of the lines made me recoil in their cringeyness. The boardroom scene is so badly acted by those playing the board that, if it wasn’t so important to the plot, I’d suggest deleting it. The ill-advised comedy moments during this scene feel out of place and nearly ruined the darkness built during the rest of the film. Speaking of comedy I can’t work out if the striptease was meant to be funny or if that was unintentional.

What The Nights Before Christmas does have going for it is Simon Philips. The films co-writers portrayal of the psychotic Santa Claus is just spectacular. He is a truly menacing and terrifying presence. Phillips is so strong that the film almost feels like it’s suffering when he’s not on screen. It’s a shame that this version of Santa is not better known, as it deserves to be put alongside some of the great horror villains. Santa could more than hold his own with Michael Myers.

Tanter and Philips Santa Claus deserves a higher level of exposure. The end of the film teases a third instalment. I really hope there is. If the third film is an end to this particular story arc, I’d love for them to find another vehicle for their horrific creation. Maybe a new arc would give the character a chance to really flex his diabolical wings and take his place amongst horrors elite.

Marks out of 10: 7

Related Posts
Trailer released for Once Upon A Time at Christmas

Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus: he’s a one-eyed fiend, she’s a curvy, bat-swinging blonde. This serial-killer couple is terrorizing the Read more

Review: Triggered (2020)

With some films, no matter how obvious it is, those involved will go to great pains to disavow any influences. Read more

Review: The Room (2020)

The Room is a psychological thriller by Director Christian Volckman. It follows couple Kate and Matt, who after moving into Read more

Review: The Owners (2020)

The opening of Julius Berg's The Owners shows us the stark contrast of the lush, peaceful, countryside and the polluted, Read more

Review: The Boys (Season 1)

The Boys is Amazon Prime’s newest addition to the seemingly endless slew of cape fuelled media flooding our media feeds. Read more

Review: No Escape (2020)

The appeal escape rooms is lost on me; my feelings on them probably are best summed up by The Gang Read more

Review: Heartbeat (2020)

Heartbeat is a new thriller by writer director Gregory Hatanaka. The story revolves around the search for a serial killer, Read more

Review: Ghosts of War (2020)

I am not a fan of horror, especially war horror as war is horrific enough but Ghosts of War is one of Read more

Review: Death of Me (2020)

From Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera, The Devil’s Carnival, Saw II-IV) comes the mysterious and intriguing Death of Read more

Review: Brave New World Ep. 1: Pilot

Brave New World is an adaptation of the 1932 novel by Aldous Huxley, rather than a straight adaption this version Read more

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: