“…legitimately scary but also took the time to laugh every once in a while.”
September is now upon us so I figured that now is the best time to get into the Christmas spirit by watching holiday themed movies. Of course, I didn’t want to jump into full-blown Christmas movies yet, so I decided to start small with A Christmas Horror Story. As the title suggests, A Christmas Horror Story is a horror film that takes place during Christmas. The movie follows four separate stories, all loosely connected to one another, and each one bringing something different to the table. And when I say different, I mean vastly different with things like ghosts and possessed children, but then more outlandish stories that involve zombie elves in the North Pole and Krampus (the anti-Santa Claus who punishes the naughty).
A Christmas Horror Story is essentially split into quarters in terms of story, but the stories are playing out concurrently which helps with pacing. I’m not saying that these are bad stories, as a matter of fact they are the opposite, but they are stories that really couldn’t carry a film alone in my opinion. This shows about 2/3 of the way through the film when even though 4 stories were happening at the same time, I started to feel the film drag. But luckily the film does pick up again for the amazing finale.
Now I’m not going to spoil, or even really talk about, these four stories separately. Just know that even though these stories are loosely connected (and brilliantly so, might I add), the movie always feels like there are four stories happening at once. By that I mean even though there are some connecting threads between them, A Christmas Horror Story plays out more like Creepshow than Friday the 13th. A benefit to the structuring being like this is the fact that we get to experience four really unique takes on situations that are commonplace in horror films.
I’m not going to lie, A Christmas Horror Story is a ridiculous movie; but it is a movie that knows it is ridiculous. This allows the filmmakers to have more fun in the film, which translates to a better time when watching it. I really enjoyed the writing, not only because it was legitimately scary but also because it took time to laugh every once in a while. The film definitely embraces the ‘B movie’ feel with some cliché lines and some less than stellar digital effects, but this all added to its charm. And don’t get me wrong, there were countless instances of beautiful practical effects used in A Christmas Horror Story, but when the CG was bad it was really bad. The acting was also pretty good, again it was clear that the movie was aiming to be fun so it is hard to tell wether some of the actors were knowingly bad, or if they are just bad actors. To give the movie the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to assume that it was all planned and say that the acting was great. Even if it was accidental, there are many instances of legitimately good acting in this movie as well; one of which being William Shatner who plays our Crypt Keeper-esque guide to these stories by providing us with insight as well as really hilarious dialogue.
Ultimately A Christmas Horror Story is an amazing, campy, and terrifying take on Christmas; and it will be a movie that I watch every December for years to come.
I give A Christmas Horror Story an A