Film Reviews

Once Upon a Time at Christmas (2017) Review

Santa and Mrs. Claus make the ultimate power couple in this sadistic horror rendition of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ was an amazing pick. The writers chose one hell of a carol to latch onto and shape the movie around. The kills were out of the box and creative, as they had to adhere to the lyrics of the song. Plus, I can’t think of any other film that uses that particular song as their schtick. It stands out among the silent nights and better watch outs of the holiday genre. The real highlight of Once Upon a Time at Christmas were the top notch killers. Mrs. Claus (Sayla de Goede) was sexy as hell and had some kind of Southern debutante accent going on that just crawled under your skin. She didn’t drop character once and fully embraced the role as a Christmas-y Harley Quinn. Mr. Claus looked like the kind of guy you wouldn’t mess with, let alone look at. His accent was cheerfully British, but hey unless you’re watching a period film, then it can go by the wayside. His maniacal laugh and effortless manslaughter obviously made him the Joker-type and it worked.

What made this film absolutely crumble were the other performances. They ranged from amateur to “what are you doing here?”  It can’t even be called terrible because a lot of the actors didn’t even seem like…actors. Local theater productions and micro budget films had savvier casting than this. It was a complete fish out of water scenario for many of them, and it was apparent from the start. It killed the overall motion of events- and that’s too bad because it really was a clever little gem. Had the casting been better, this could easily be a buzz worthy flick for the season.

If you fuss over the finer details, you may find serious issues with the location. Nearly any available opportunity to show that this movie was set in ‘WOODBRIDGE, NY” was made. A sign or decal was shown at least four times with those very words on it throughout. That would have been fine and dandy, had there not been Canadian license plates on every car or every actor having their wonder “aboot” accents slip out. There’s nothing wrong with having a story set in Canada, honest! The SFX isn’t shoddy by any means and the plot does waver from time to time, but it finds its way steadily back and with a nice payoff in the end.

If you can ignore the performances and focus on the story, go for it. It’s a cool take on holiday horror and the killers are worthy of your attention. If you believe in Christmas miracles, wish for a stronger cast and a remake (and not a sequel that’s currently in pre-production).

Available for rental & purchase on Amazon:

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