New Horror Releases: Christmas Blood (Juleblood) (2018) Reviewed

It’s that time of the year again. Annually, we see a glut of new movies right around this time that take the festive season and turn it into a blood spattered mess of human suffering. 2018 is no different. At the top of the heap comes a Norwegian genre film that tries its hand at a layered story about a death seeking, ax wielding Santa on the prowl.

Artsploitation Films spreads the holiday horror with their brand new Santa slasher, Christmas Blood. Fusing themes of Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night into a dark and brooding film about a psychotic killer on the loose, this is easily one of their better releases of 2018. Calling back to an earlier era in horror, this lower budget flick has the makings of a new killer classic even if some of the exposition feels mildly convoluted. Let’s be honest. Decent Xmas horror can be hard to come by. Luckily enough, this one takes cues from the formative years of the genre and spills blood feverishly as no one is safe from this human freight train of evil. Existing mostly in cloaked darkness, the movie has a fuzzy snow globe aesthetic that adds to the claustrophobic tones that are definitely relevant to the ‘80s style that imparts its inspiration all over this project.

Playing to the construct that it mildly follows, the drugs, sex, and kills run deep when the bone smashing fatman starts the kill counter. Mixing in some scenes that are highly reminiscent of the ghost town tone of 30 Days of Night with the police backdrop of the Saw series, Christmas Blood quickly evolves from standard slash and hack to a cat and mouse game layered with chills, thrills, and some rather cool cinematography. If anything can be said, it definitely captures a cold, wintery backdrop where no one is really safe. Yet, the story might prove to be a bit too slow for those looking for a quick and easy kill count. But when it starts to happen, it’s brutal as hell. Evisceration, pubic destruction, skull smashing, and of course a bevy of sexy girls round out Christmas Blood. 

As a huge fan of Artsploitation's expansive library of horror films, this one definitely hits some higher marks for their current slate. This one finally recaptures the essence of what made the exploitation Christmas horror movies of earlier years such classics. Our Santa character here is shrouded in mystery with no deep rooted back story and maintains an eerie darkness about him that definitely keeps things interesting. He's not some franchise killer spouting off comedic one liners all the time. Nope. He speaks with his weapon of choice, murdering anyone that comes in his path. 

If you're looking for something different this year, have no fear. Christmas Blood revitalizes sub-genre with an original movie that keeps its motives simple and neat, if not for the guts everywhere. Check this one out. It will be out on VOD and DVD on December 18th. 

-Chris George