The wickedly fun holiday horror anthology “A Christmas Horror Story” is a jolly good time, with plenty of gory treats for genre fans.
It’s Christmas Eve in Bailey Downs, and a ghost, a changeling, and Krampus are on the loose. Santa may also be held up this year; he’s got to fight off an army of zombie elves threatening to devour him! In between the chaos, local DJ Dangerous Dan (William Shatner) is on the air, drinking some egg nog spiked with some Christmas spirit to keep Bailey Downs updated on a horrible situation at the local mall.
Directed by Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan, A Christmas Horror Story is an anthology featuring four interwoven tales, each featuring a different type of horror.
If the name Bailey Downs sounds familiar, Harvey, Hoban, and Sullivan all worked on the films in the Ginger Snaps trilogy, and the first film takes place in Bailey Downs.
The first story follows three teenagers, Dylan (Shannon Kook), Ben (Alex Ozerov), and Molly (Zoe De Grand Maison), as they break into their school to investigate a true crime story (in which Dangerous Dan’s son was one of the victims). The trio gets locked in the basement and realizes they are not alone.
In the second story, the Peters family, Scott (Adrian Holmes), one of the officers who investigated the murder at the school, his wife Kim (Olunike Adeliyi), and their son Will (Orion John) venture into the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree. Will wanders off into the woods, but his parents soon find him. However, Will’s behavior becomes increasingly bizarre and deadly after they get home.
The third story follows the Bauer family Caprice (Amy Forsyth), who is friends with the teens from the first tale, her younger brother Duncan (Percy Hynes White), and parents Taylor (Jeff Clark) and Diane (Michelle Nolden) as they take a trip to visit Taylor’s Aunt Edda (Corinne Conley).
After Duncan intentionally breaks a Krampus figure, Edda throws them out. On the way home, they get into a car accident and must walk through the woods. However, they realize someone or something stalks them.
The fourth and final story finds Santa Claus battling an army of zombie elves at the North Pole, which ends with an epic twist that does tie into Bailey Downs.
A Christmas Horror Story is a holiday treat.
All of the stories are well-written and acted. Each delivers a good dose of winter chill and holiday fear with dark, shadowy basements, shady pasts, and frigid, dark, wintry woods.
The atmosphere is a wonderful mix of creepy and macabre, with some gore, jump scares, and dark humor against the backdrop of that most wonderful time of the year.
Different from most anthologies, the tales are spread out and interwoven together, not told in full one after the other. We’re introduced to each one briefly, and then we revisit the tales throughout the film. Each story moves slowly, building up to unpredictable endings that do not disappoint.
If you’re looking for some good holiday horror, I recommend adding A Christmas Horror Story to your watchlist this holiday season.