One of the few (and by few, I mean like three) actually good indie director’s working today is Joe Begos. From Almost Human to VFW, he continues to tell interesting stories within an environment built to stifle creativity. His films are a burst of energy and what could be better for the holiday season than a Christmas horror film. Let’s talk about Christmas Bloody Christmas.
Tori (Riley Dandy) is done for the day. It’s Christmas Eve, and she is finishing up her shift at the local record store. She is ready to kick off her shoes and hook up with some musician, but her employee, Robbie (Sam Delich), has other ideas. Through some fast talking and good old-fashioned logic, the two get drunk and talk shit on their way to drink at a bar. Stopping off on their Whiskey tour at a local toy store, Tori drops off some spirts to Jay (Jonah Ray) and Lahna (Dora Madison), who are celebrating by smashing and grinding at work. There is a Santa there as well, one of the newly designed Robo Santas advertised at the beginning of the movie.
Her good deed done, her and Robbie hit a bar to drink till they close the place down. Meanwhile, the Santa at the toy store, which happens to be built from repurposed hardware. It reverts to its previous programing and begins to hunt and kill, starting with our sexy couple Lahna and Jay. Sometimes you really ought to get a room.
At a local bar, Tori and Robbie continue their holiday drink a thon. All is going well when doom and gloom shows up in the form of the sheriff, intensely played by Jeff Daniel Phillips. He has nothing good to say about being stuck at home with his wife’s dog or Robbie, for that matter. Soon, the bar closes, and Tori suggest that they go back to her place. Unfortunately, they are spotted by the death dealing robo Santa and his new targets are acquired.
Christmas Bloody Christmas has a lot in common on the surface with films like Silent Night 2012 and other killer Santa films, and some other obvious DNA, but is way better written and directed than most of them. Also, digging deeper, the film has a lot in common with another Christmas film about military robots reverting to their initial programing and running amuck on Christmas Eve…1990’s Hardware!
In any case, one thing that makes the characters work is that they are real. They have real issues and real desires without letting them define who they are. It’s refreshing to see characters that aren’t prudes or complete assholes. The dialogue is top notch. Witty, relevant and tight.
Performance wise, the film’s littered with talent. Riley Dandy holds the screen as our lead, Tori. Strong, fun, sexy, and most important, relatable, she is everything a lead should be.
The same goes for Sam Delich as Robbie. He has the difficult task of playing a guy that wants to sex up his boss, and is trying to convince her, without playing a creep or a nerd. In this day and age, this is no small task and he pulls it off beautifully.
As with most Begos films, he gets strong support from solid actors in smaller roles. Jeff Daniel Phillips makes the movie his own in his small time on screen and the film features welcomes cameos from Graham Skipper, Josh Either, and Matt Mercer. All of which make their characters memorable.
There isn’t a wrong note in Christmas Bloody Christmas and I urge everyone to check it out this holiday season. You can certainly do worse for X-Mas horror but you will rarely do better!