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A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Writers: Various
Directors: Various
Tagline: You Better Watch Out

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Full Review

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A Christmas Horror Story is a Christmas themed horror portmanteau - but you wouldn't necessarily realise that. It doesn't follows the conventions of the sub-genre and the word 'A' in the title is definitely misleading. This is not a Christmas Horror story, it's several. Although there are some recurring themes such as Krampus, don't expect a single narrative tying everything together.

Unlike most portmanteau films this one doesn't have the characters meet up at the beginning and tell their tales; most of them are totally unconnected. In another change from the usual genre conventions the stories are not told sequentially but are interweaved, cutting between one and another. Once you realise what's going on it's actually quite an effective technique which means that the film as a whole maintains a forward momentum rather than being stop start.

But what about the stories? As usual with an anthology they vary in style and quality.

Far and away my favourite is the story of Santa's elves becoming ill and turning into zombies. This starts off quite light-hearted but turns into something much darker. And I have to love any excuse for using the phrase 'the elvil dead'!

I also really enjoyed the story of a family who return from a trip to the woods to find their child... changed. There's nothing particularly original in it, but it's well done.

The other two main stories are decent enough fillers, not brilliant but no stinkers. There were even a couple of twists I didn't see coming which is unusual.

So overall it's a decent set of stories. Acting is decent enough but overshadowed by William Shatner brilliantly hamming up as a DJ getting progressively more drunk (especially during the end credits). He probably filmed all his scenes in one day but they work extremely well as light comic relief.

Overall A Christmas Horror Story is an unusual and superior portmanteau story. Just make sure you know what sort of film it is before you start watching.