Christmas Blood is a film I have been looking forward to since first hearing about it several months ago, as Christmas horror films are one of my favorite horror subgenres. The other day, I finally got the opportunity to check out Christmas Blood, and I’ve got to say, I was pretty disappointed overall. Read on to find out why.
Christmas Blood is the latest film from Norwegian filmmaker Reinert Kiil (Whore 2009). The film stars The Thing’s (2011) Stig Henrik Hoff and Jørgen Langhelle, as well as Sondre Krogtoft Larsen (Hotel Caesar TV series), Truls Svendsen (Maglerne TV series), Marte Sæteren (Pornopung 2012), Julia Schacht (Polaroid 2014), Frank Kjosås (The Saboteurs 2015), Thomas Felberg (Julekongen 2012), Sigmund Sæverud (Piratene 1983), Haddy Jallow (Say That You Love Me 2006) and Karoline Stemre (Vegas 2009).
Horror’s Santa-slasher sub-genre mixes with Scandinavian noir in this bloody Christmas tale. Christmas is a time of peace, love and family, but not for Norway as a psychopath dressed in a Santa Claus suit has been terrorizing them for the past 13 years. For as soon as the caroling starts, this demented Kris Kringle dispenses bloody ax blows, regardless of whether you’ve been bad or good. As the holiday approaches on one snow-covered town filled with revelers, a pair of detectives work against time to find and arrest this bearded serial killer. Will they manage to stop this demented St. Nick before he kills again? Director Reinert Kiil (The House, Whore) delivers a dark, disturbing and bloody holiday thriller.
Christmas Blood has several major flaws that made the film damn near impossible for me to enjoy. The first two thirds of the movie is so darkly lit that I couldn’t tell what was going on and to whom. Near the beginning of the film, the killer Santa is shot by a cop and imprisoned. Later on, we follow a cop investigating his escape. As the shoot out was shot from far away and I never got a look at the cop’s face, I assumed it was the same guy, at least until halfway through the movie when the original cop comes back into the story. I really didn’t get to know the protagonists of the film. They spend the majority of the movie arguing back and forth, but I really didn’t get much of a feel for who they are. The most likable character is a mute girl who suffers one of Christmas Blood’s most disturbing deaths scenes… and she can’t even cry out!
The biggest flaw for this movie is that the killer is said to have his own moral compass, only killing criminals. This contradicts the beginning of the film, when it is heavily implied that he had killed a young child, and later on, when he kills a rape victim moments after inadvertently saving her from her attacker. The film gets a little better in the final act with some genuinely well done kills, but the whole thing ends with no really payoff, just a set up for a sequel it doesn’t deserve.
Christmas Blood is a hard film to recommend. It’s so dimly lit for most of the runtime that it’s hard to follow what’s going on. The film gets better in the final act, but it’s wasted on a killer that doesn’t follow his own moral code and an ending with no payoff. If you’re the kind of person who needs to see every holiday horror out there, then you might want to check out this film. If not, it may be one to skip.