New Horror Releases: Killer Christmas (2017) - Reviewed

Filmed on a modest budget just under $50,000 across a shoot spanning 9 nights and days is the microbudgeted Christmas themed horror film Killer Christmas. Despite some positives aspects, the scary Santa mask doesn’t quite help elevate the freshman effort from co-writing and co-directing team PeterPaul and Tony Shaker. Ultimately, it suffers from slow pacing and minimal bloodshed. 

During the Christmas holiday, six friends venture to a Christmas tree lot to pick out some trees. When they decide to explore the abandoned hotel nearby, they find themselves being picked off by a killer in a Santa mask. It’s meant to be a slow-burn suspense thriller as we wait for the killer to pick off his victims, the problem is that the pacing is just too slow. The first act is properly devoted to developing the characters and setting up the plot, but it takes nearly 45 minutes before one of our main characters bites the dust. Even after that, there is still an insufficient amount of action in the final act. 

The film has decent camera work. Yes, there are some issues, but for the most part it looks good for a low budget production. There are several interesting scenes and camera angles that they were able to achieve, along with some nice closeups of the characters faces. The lighting was effective, achieving pleasant blue hues and shadows during the nighttime exterior scenes and chilling yellows and shadows on the characters during the nighttime interior scenes. The score is terrific, featuring an international children’s choir creepily singing Christmas songs. Mixed with some additional piano and synth music, it is an eerie composition that led to a few impressive scenes. 

The acting is surprisingly terrific. It’s always a huge question mark when it comes to any low budget production, but they all did an admirable job. Not one performance felt decidedly false or unbelievable. Malcom Xavier had one standout scene. Kourtney Kelley probably had the most depth, her character kind of went all over the place in the film. 

The minimal amount of violence is going to be a major issue with most horror fans. It could be said that there is almost no violence or gore in this, with several deaths occurring offscreen. The blood is all done through VFX. For many fans, this is a cardinal sin for a horror film. It really ends up being a rather small amount of blood that you end up seeing, which begs the question of why not just use fake blood? It would seem to have been more cost effective, but they were running on extreme time constraints. 

The Shaker brothers should be commended for achieving what they did. It isn’t easy to make a movie and they were able to do just that. For their first time, it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t great either. With some adjustments, this could have been a more entertaining picture. 

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