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

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
Zoolander 2 trailer released

Zoolander is back but a lot has happened since 2001! Rest assured the Ben Stiller comedy features familiar faces and a few new ones with plenty to get you excited. Read more

Zone 414 trailer released

Zone 414 is an upcoming American science fiction thriller film written by Bryan Edward Hill and directed by Andrew Baird. The film stars Guy Pearce, Matilda Lutz, Jonathan Aris, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Olwen Fouéré, Colin Salmon, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Read more

Zomboat! Episode 6

It is the final episode of Season 1, and as expected following the somewhat calmness of last week's episode this week is about to go off the scale. Our crew Read more

Zomboat! Episode 5

Episode 5 of Zomboat! is the penultimate episode of Season 1 and it gave the audience a chance to catch their breath before the grand finale. Instead of the fast Read more

Zomboat! Episode 4

In Zomboat! Episode 4 we discover that even a shopping trip can be hazardous to your health in post-apocalyptic Birmingham. With the boat moored and apparently safe Amar (Ryan McKen) Read more

Zomboat! Episode 3

After our diversion last week our Zomboat crew begin travelling in the right direction and end up back where they first got on the boat. This also happens to be Read more

Zomboat! Episode 2

Zomboat! burst onto our screens last week and while we loved it we noted that it felt "a bit rushed with lots crammed in." As Episode 2 washed over us Read more

Zomboat! Episode 1

Debuting on ITV2 in the UK, Zomboat! is filmed in the 2.35:1 widescreen ratio of most zombie movies and answers the life long question of what would happen if you Read more

Zomblogalypse trailer released

Homemade horror-comedy feature Zomblogalypse received its UK premiere at Dead Northern Film Festival - in association with Fangoria and Shudder - at City Screen York on 26th September 2021. The Read more

Zombies-Outlive The Undead trailer released

Tony Todd is back in an all new zombie movie: When the world is in shambles, plagued by a zombie outbreak, only the strong will survive, but just how Read more

Zombieland: Doubletap “Keeps Getting Better” featurette released

Columbus, Tallahasse, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family... Read more

Zombieland 2: Double Tap trailer released

In Zombieland 2: Double Tap, Columbus, Tallahasse, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of Read more

Zombie With A Shotgun trailer released

Zombie With A Shotgun is the feature adaptation of the popular web series of the same name. Aaron and Rachel are on the run due to the fact that Aaron is Read more

Zombie Tidal Wave (2019)

Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, Zombie Tidal Wave aims to pick up where the Sharknado franchise left off. More serious in tone, the film plays more like the original Sharknado Read more

Zombie Tidal Wave “Zombie Tsunami” trailer released

It's a Zombie Tsunami! From the same twisted minds behind Sharknado comes an all-new disaster: Zombie Tidal Wave starring Ian Ziering. Watch the world premiere Saturday August 17th at 9/8c Read more

Zombie Fighter official trailer released

11 years ago, a zombie virus killed many people, while others had their family members turned into zombies. Society is still angry, and so outside the city, a zombie fight Read more

Zombi Child official trailer released

Haiti, 1962. A man is brought back from the dead to work in the hell of sugar cane plantations. 55 years later, a Haitian teenager tells her friends her family Read more

Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas trailer released

On her first holiday without her father, Zoey attempts to create a magical Christmas for her family just like the ones Mitch used to do. Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas, an all-new Read more

Zoe Kravitz to play Catwoman in The Batman

Zoe Kravitz has been cast to play Catwoman/Selina Kyle in The Batman, a role she recently voiced in The Lego Batman Movie. Kravitz was also recently in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Read more

Zillafoot hits Bluray

A UFO lands on Earth, unleashing a giant monster that is half lizard, half gorilla - Zillafoot! The monster rampages, decimating any military response and even awakening a strange dinosaur. Read more