All Through the House Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by 101 Films
Written and directed by Todd Nunes
2016, 88 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 21st November 2016
Ashley Mary Nunes as Rachel Kimmel
Jessica Cameron as Sheila
Melynda Kiring as Mrs. Garrett
Natalie Montera as Gia
Lito Velasco as The Killer
Jason Rayer as Cody
After 2015’s Krampus-palooza, it’s good to get back to basics with an old-fashioned psycho Santa movie. Although the Christmas demon does get name-checked here, the murderous monster of All Through the House is entirely human and charmingly low-rent – a not particularly imposing figure in a Santa suit and grubby black mask. What sets this slasher Santa apart from the rest is a particular obsession with chopping off and collecting victims’ penises. Sold.
It’s almost Christmas, and, returning home from college for the holiday period, young (ha) Rachel agrees to help her weird spinster neighbour decorate her home. Together with her irritating friends, Rachel navigates the old bird’s creepy mannequin-filled home, inadvertently stumbling across a number of clues which may help her to understand her own past. Meanwhile, a masked serial killer storms throughout the neighbourhood, murdering the naughty and nice alike, chopping off cocks and adding them to Santa’s sack. Sometimes Santa kills the ladies too, though, raiding their dildo collection so as to have something to show for it.
Were it not for these odd and shockingly mean little touches, there would be little to recommend All Through the House for. It’s hideously low-budget, brightened only by the Christmas decorations, neon lighting and inventive set design. The actors are mostly terrible (particularly the painful Cathy Garrett), the script and writing idiotic, derivative of both Halloween and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. In its Santa, however, all is redeemed.
All Through the House is a shockingly nasty movie, opening with a genital dismemberment and stabbing indie scream queen Jessica Cameron through the boob and in the eyes with a pair of garden shears. Not particularly Christmassy (how very The Burning), but when your whole M.O. is lopping off lovelengths, you gotta compromise. There is some variety to the rest of it, though, with some more traditional festive kills ripped straight out of Black Christmas and even Gremlins. Admirably gory and cruel, the film only feels alive when somebody is being murdered or about to be. Thankfully, this is often enough that the rest of the time isn’t too much of a trudge (while still being a bit of a trudge), meaning that there’s plenty of schadenfreude to be had in seeing its bad actors offed before they become too tiresome.
While All Through the House is not ‘good’ in any traditional sense of the word, there are worse Christmas horror movies out there (these days usually cashing in on the Krampus kraze). It is authentically sleazy, nasty and yes, even (mildly) original enough, in the unveiling of its villain’s motives, to be worth one’s eggnog-sozzled time. Provided you’ve exhausted all of the other movies you could be watching instead, that is.