New Horror Releases: Good Tidings (2016) – Reviewed

After watching and reviewing the highly entertaining Santa slasher All Through the House back in September, I was intrigued about seeing the British Santa slasher Good Tidings. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. It could be best described as the Die Hard version of a Santa slasher flick that adds a Brit touch to the horror subgenre, packing a serious punch and providing another annual horror film that’s worth viewing during the holidays. The story involves three psychopaths dressed up in Santa Claus outfits who attack a group of homeless people living in an abandoned building, leaving a homeless war veteran to take on the dangerous trio.

This delivers what you would normally expect from a British production, it is a serious and straight-forward slasher picture. There is not one ounce of comedy in this and it is more typical of a British drama that has been thrown into a horror scenario, with serious themes and subplots you might not expect to appear in this subgenre. Other than that the story is virtually by the books. The primary characters are set up and then heads start rolling, keeping things moving at a nice fast pace. The only issue with the script ends up being the motivation of the trio of psychopaths. It appears that there is something more there than random killings that is never fully explained, but seems to be only slightly implied.

The directing and cinematography are quite excellent for a low budget horror movie, producing absolutely brilliant camera shots and angles that made for some interesting imagery. This was Stuart W. Bedfords first feature length directorial job and the cinematography was done by Shane de Almeida. The lighting is good also. There were several scenes that seemed to be a bit dark, but were most likely due to the specific locations in the building. The score is a superb mixture of piano, synth, rock, and an unusual take on classical Christmas music. The Christmas music is outstanding and is almost a blend of metal and druids chanting, which makes for an eerie creation. It was crafted by Liam W. Ashcroft AKA Jean Michel Noir, who notes that his musical influences include Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, and John Carpenter among others. While I enjoyed the score, some viewers may find it annoying depending on their personal tastes.

The acting is decent and is pretty much what you would come to expect from a low budget production like this. Alan Mulhall is believable as the homeless veteran and plays the role completely straight and serious, while at the same time breaking away from the prototypical hero. Claire Crossland plays one of the other core characters and is adequate in her role as a recovering junkie. The main stars are the three psychopathic Santas known as Moe (Ashcroft), Larry (Giovanni Gentile), and Curly (Stu Jopia), who stand above and beyond all of the other characters. They do take on a Three Stooges persona in a serial killer sort of way, with each of them having specific movements and characterizations that make them unique and fascinating. They also use laughs and noises to express emotions and create fear, never actually speaking any dialogue. It is worth noting that Jopia and Gentile were co-writers and producers, while Ashcroft scored the film.
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The gore and violence should please most horror fans expecting a great deal of bloodshed. There is a high body count, blood, gore, and some totally devious kill sequences. The parts involving physical combat between the killers and the protagonists are average and are one area that they might have been able to improve on.

Overall, this is fun holiday slasher flick that most horror fans should end up enjoying.

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