Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022) Movie Review – A festive movie without any holiday cheer

A festive movie without any holiday cheer

What is with horror movie directors and Christmas? The holiday season is supposed to be one that is filled with cheer and goodwill to all, and not scenes of bloody carnage instigated by murderous elves, deranged serial killers, and sinister Santas! But every Christmas, more festive-themed horror movies are released, which this year includes Violent Night, The Mean One, Mistletoe Massacre, and for the purposes of this review, Christmas Bloody Christmas!

Of course, if you’re tired of all the sentimental Hallmark-like festive movies that clog up our streaming services at this time of year, you might be glad of a movie that’s more adult in nature than something that is cutesy and sickly sweet. As such, Christmas Bloody Christmas might be the movie for you, as it contains lots of bad language, lots of raunchy sex, and lots and lots of bloodletting. Needless to say, this isn’t something you should watch with any sensitive members of your family over the festive period!

The movie, which is currently streaming on Shudder, comes from director Joe Begos, a man who is no stranger to the world of horror as he has previously brought us such movies as Almost Human, VFW, and Bliss. None of these movies are classics of the genre and neither is his latest movie but for fans of gore and over-the-top mayhem, they might just about fit the bill.

Christmas Bloody Christmas centres on record store owner Tori (Riley Dandy) who has plans to cosy up with a Tinder date on Christmas Eve. But when she finds out the guy is married, she decides to enjoy a night on the town with her friend and colleague Robbie (Sam Delich) instead.

Unfortunately, these plans are also scrapped when she becomes the target of RoboSanta, a machine made from bits and pieces that were originally intended for military use. This mechanical menace, which has been repurposed as a display for a toy store, somehow reverts back to its defence system status, causing it to brutally kill anybody it comes into contact with. Tori finds herself on its hit list and as the movie progresses, we watch as she takes part in a blood-spattered battle for survival against the rampaging killbot.

But despite the propulsive music score, which seems to take its cue from The Terminator theme, there isn’t a lot of tension to be had when RoboSanta stalks Tori through her small town. Everything plays out in a familiar fashion so you shouldn’t expect many surprises or jump-scare moments when watching this holiday horror.

When Tori runs from place to place in an attempt to escape the machine, we know it is going to find her, so we are under no illusion that she will ever find a safe place in which to hide. We know exactly what will happen at nearly every stage of the movie, right down to the moments when she apparently takes RoboSanta down only for it to rise up again a few seconds later. It’s formulaic stuff although this might not matter to those people who enjoy this kind of thing.

Thankfully, the acting from most of the cast is good, most notably Riley Dandy who convinces as the terrified Tori. Previously known for such lamentable Christmas fare as A Kiss On Candy Cane Lane, the kind of sentimental nonsense that I alluded to earlier, she has finally been given the opportunity to showcase her ability to do more than stand around looking glam and pretty. Of course, if you do like slushy festive movies, you might want to check out this year’s A Hollywood Christmas which also stars Dandy, but if Christmas Bloody Christmas is more your kind of thing, you should probably steer clear!

But to call this a ‘good’ movie would be an overstatement as there are a lot of things that grate on the nerves. The incessant chatter between Tori and Robbie when they discuss the merits of their favourite movies and songs gets a little wearying, and the constant F-bombs that litter the dialogue scenes illustrate a general lack of imagination from the director who also wrote the script. There are also moments when it’s hard to make out what is going on, especially during the final face-off between Tori and RoboSanta, which is frustrating as these problems could have been overcome with better lighting and tighter direction.

Undemanding horror fans (especially those who like the use of practical effects over CGI) will likely enjoy this movie more than most but with more intelligent dialogue and a less predictable storyline, this could have been a lot better. At just under 90 minutes, it doesn’t quite overstay its welcome – unlike some of the guests who might land on your doorstep this holiday season – but unlike better festive horror movies (such as Krampus), you probably won’t have the incentive to re-watch it during the Christmas periods that are to come.

Read More: Christmas Bloody Christmas Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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