Christmas films are problematic. They are mostly bad or occasionally derivative and possess a tired formula. The thing is, a guy in a Santa outfit can be scary so what is it going to take? Enter the film Good Tidings. A fresh take on not only the killer Santa sub-genre, but home invasion as well…
The film opens up with an unsavory character, drunk, wandering out to his car and grabbing his Santa Claus jacket out of the trunk. Sure, it’s a bit weird, but you haven’t seen weird yet. Behind him, out of focus, is someone watching. But before you can process what you’ve seen, the drunk is on the ground, surrounded by three men in hospital garb and bandaged faces. It’s a bizarre and truly creepy image.
With that, we cut to a homeless man looking for food before running into Sam (Alan Mulhall), a homeless man living in an abandoned court house with a large group. They seem like good people, all with their own ghosts and demons, but pulling together and celebrating the holiday. It’s a good day with food and drink for all…until Santa (or rather 3) show up.
There is no real plan or objective, only murder. That is one of the things that works so well in the films favor. There is no reason you can understand, no motivation you can justify. We fear the unknown and incomprehensible, and these psychopaths are the epitome of that.
GOOD TIDINGS, directed by Stuart Jopia is rich with great moments. The image of the three dirty Santas standing in front of the courthouse with Liam W. Ashcroft’s haunting score blaring is the stuff of nightmares. It’s hard to make evil Santa scary after films like Silent Night and its imitators, it didn’t seem like there was anything left in the sub-genre. In that respect, GOOD TIDINGS is a game-changer. It’s taken a tired sub-genre and gave it a spin so fresh that I hope it is imitated and expanded upon.
If you are looking for a solid horror film that works from September all the way through December, GOOD TIDINGS is your best bet. An absolute gem.