Originally titled "Stirring"
You won't be going home for Christmas!
A group of college students attending a Christmas party at a sorority house that has a sinister past is stalked by a bloodthirsty killer disguised as Mrs. Claus.
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated R for bloody horror violence, and language including sexual references
November 13th in the U.S. on DVD, VOD
This film that came across my desk is an entertaining little horror romp by the name of "Mr. Claus".
It felt like a heartfelt throwback to the old Christmas themed horror movies of my youth ( Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night and even Santa's Slay with Bill Goldberg as a satanic killer Santa that ended up better than it had any right to be) and while the end result ended up being somewhat predictable it still delivered on the promise of an old fashioned Christmas slasher.
The good: The death scenes are all done with practical effects. No CGI to be found here. While I love CGI in some cases, there is something to be said for a talented fx artist using effects that aren't computer generated to make the kills look believable.
This works for and against this film in a way. Some of the kills look awesome. Others... not so much, but that's the charm of a good slasher film and one of the reasons why we love them so much to begin with.
The opening kill took me by surprise and I must confess gave me a laugh. It was so over the top and outrageous that it only would have worked in this kind of film. It was one of those deaths where you either wince or laugh and clap at the sheer audacity of it. No spoilers here, not my style, but when you see this scene you'll know it.
I loved seeing Brinke Stevens (Slumber Party Massacre) in this. I'm happy to say that she isn't just used as a cameo just so her name can be in the credits, she actually plays a major part in the ending.
Another established name in horror, Helene Udy (My Bloody Valentine) While she doesn't get a lot of screen time, her performance is memorable and well done.
Now the bad: As is the case with many independent films, some of the performances are wooden and some almost seemed phoned in. While it must be taken into account that some of the actors are new and still honing their skills, which is noticeable in some cases and it does take away from the film.
I feel that I need to mention that a couple of the kills really showed the limitations of the budget. One, in particular, stands out to me and actually had me saying, "You gotta be kidding me" when I saw it.
The plot itself was pretty much predictable as you tend to expect. While it followed the general genre rules, it was no surprise who the killer was.
Although it did have a twist I didn't really expect (Props for that) but I still felt a bit let down that I wasn't challenged more by the reveal of the killer.
All in all, I got what I expected out of this film.
I'd love to see what this director could do with a bigger budget in the future. I'm willing to bet he's going to come up with something much more memorable.
Honestly, it's just good for me to see independent horror is still alive and well.
The passion and drive are still alive. I find that to be a comfort, truth be told.
Reviewed by Scooby