Every Christmas Eve the small sleepy town of Bailey Downs is marred with outbreaks of supernatural tragedy. If the name Bailey Downs sounds familiar to you, you’d be right, as it’s the name of the fictional town featured in Ginger Snaps, a film that the filmmakers were also responsible for.
Pitched as an anthology, A Christmas Horror Story is actually more of a Pulp Fiction style tale with four interlinking stories rather than a series of different self-contained plots one after the other. Each story is diverse, we get a haunted house/ancient curse, a killer Krampus, a devious changeling, and Santa under siege by zombie elves. Yes, zombie elves. Tying the tales together is William Shatner who plays Disc Jockey Dangerous Dan, a man who loves Christmas with every fibre of his being. If he were real he’d be that neighbour that leaves their decorations up all year round.
The different tales are all interesting, but the film would be much stronger if they were to stick to the conventional anthology narrative. The problem with having them interlink is that the viewer is pulled around from one scenario another, and the narrative gets muddled. Worse still, some of the stories, the changeling one in particular, are stories that rely heavily on atmosphere and suspense, and all of that is lost as we jump in and out of each tale.
A Christmas Horror Story is a great movie to slowly ween yourself into yuletide delights. Much like Gremlins, this is a film that just happens to have Christmas as a backdrop to the proceedings. Even Santa can’t brighten up this movie, it’s as dark as a winter evening.
A Christmas Horror Story is available on Digital HD (currently free as part of Shudder) and DVD now.
The review was first published on THN.