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WRITTEN REVIEW: Christmas Blood

Just in time for the holiday season comes a Santa slasher from Norway – the home of many of our Christmas traditions. Most people don't know this but, much of what comes to mind when we think of Santa Claus is what some crafty Coca Cola ad man invented nearly a century ago. The true origin of Santa is rooted in the likeness and tales of the Allfather Odin. They both are remembered for visiting homes in the night during the Yule (winter celebration / Christmas) to bring gifts to children. They both have long white beards and wore robes as well as other iconic winter attire. Santa drives a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer, and Odin rides a horse with eight legs. I think Odin called it a Spider-mare. I'm sure that's right.

Much like Santa and Odin before him, Christmas Blood – originally titled JuleBlod - is a new film by writer / director Reinert Kiil (The House, Whore) that feels sneakily familiar to other installments of the holiday horror genre.

Christmas Blood begins with a group of young women who have made their way to a secluded village in the northern most part of Norway. Since it is winter, this northern region is currently in darkness day and night. Think 30 Days of Night, but in Norway instead of Alaska. These women are old friends who have gotten together for the holidays and to support one of their friends, Julia, who they are trekking to visit, and who is filled with grief after the passing of her mother.

Meanwhile, a convicted serial killer has escaped and the police are frantically trying to track him down before he kills again. The unnamed man was brought in six years earlier by Detective Rasch who worked on his case for over a decade before finding him. The killer murdered over a hundred people all across the country, and always left his calling card at the scene of the crime in the form of three jingle bells. Yes, this killer dresses like Santa - the beloved, child friendly gift giver. He even keeps a list of people who have been naughty to direct his murderous rampage.

Finding the killer has become the responsibility Detective Hansen who quickly hits a dead end and seeks out, the now retired, Det. Rasch for help. If anyone knows where the killer might go, or where he'll strike next, it's Rasch. With Christmas Eve quickly approaching the two team up to fine their Santa Claus.

Using Santa's list of naughty people – confiscated as evidence – they learn that a woman on the list has recently died before he broke out. It's possible that he may try to pick up his killing spree where he left off not knowing that she has passed. The detectives then race to the deceased women's home, where her unsuspecting daughter, Julia, now lives.

Like clockwork, the axe wielding Santa finds his way up north to the same remote town where Julia and her friends are currently celebrating the Yule. Doing all the things that will soon land them on Santa's naughty list.

Christmas Blood proves to be a better killer Santa flick than the dozens that have come before it. Often they are quickly thrown together, cheaply made and poorly written and as a result only few have lived on in the hearts and minds of horror fans. With part of the story unfolding as a police investigation, Christmas Blood is grounded and dark with a killer that is one of the most brutal to ever wear a Santa hat. He kills with such power that he seem like more than just a man in a costume. Something supernatural or evil.

There isn't much variety in a killer Santa movie. Not much that hasn't already been done, that's for sure, and as a result Christmas Blood does feel familiar. But the film tries to set itself apart from the rest with it's blend of characters, reality bending kills and buckets of blood. I just wish more of the fun stuff came earlier in the film as the first two thirds of it is spent setting up the last twenty minutes.

As a result, some who watch Christmas Blood will love what it has to offer, while others will see is as just Micheal Myers in a Santa costume. Personally, my feelings toward the film fall somewhere in the middle – enjoying what it had to offer, but falling short of loving it.

Christmas Blood will be sliding down chimneys via DVD and VOD on December 18th from the fine people at Artsploitation Films. And if you would care to learn more about Santa's ancient connection to Odin, check out this piece from Sons of Vikings.

Reviewer | Producer & Editor | Resident Conspiracy Theorist

A blue collar dude with facial hair that would make his Norse ancestors proud. He is a collector of comic books, retro video games, and obscure relics from the VHS era.


★ ★ ½