Christmas Blood DVD Review
Written by ZigZag
DVD released by Artsploitation Films
Written and directed by Reinert Kiil
2018, 105 minutes, Not Rated
Released on December 4th, 2018
Sondre Krogtoft Larsen as Terje Hansen
Marte Saeteren as Julia
Stig Henrik Hoff as Thomas Rasch
Haddy Jallow as Ritika
Karoline Stemre as Elisabeth
Julia Schacht as Fengselebetjent
Thomas Felberg as Lege
Frank Kosas as Psychologist
Andreas Nonaas as Christian
Julia has invited a group of friends home for a Christmas reunion. The ladies eat, drink, dance and have a generally fabulous time this holiday season. What they don’t know is that a psychopath dressed as Santa Claus with a penchant for yuletide slaughter has escaped the local asylum. The man is responsible for more than one hundred deaths and is just getting started. Hot on his trail are a determined police detective and the retired cop responsible for stopping the original killing spree six years ago. Santa is super strong and proves virtually invincible to counterattack. The friends are going to need a Christmas miracle if they plan to survive this holy night.
Christmas Blood (aka Juleblod) is a seasonal slasher from Norway and is a throwback to the horror cinema of the 1980s and 90s. The movie follows the model closely and borrows heavily from its predecessors. Written and directed by Reinert Kiil (Inside the Whore), the film tells two stories; that of the girls’ party fun and the other of the cops in pursuit of a madman. Both storylines remain mutually exclusive until the final moments of the picture. The plot follows the template of John Carpenter’s Halloween, but fails to capture the chills or suspense of that picture, yetstill manages to provide some thrills. Kiil is content to let his scenes run long regardless of content, something that cripples the overall pacing, which ultimately undoes the whole thing.
An isolated, snowbound town in northern Norway is the perfect setting for some good old-fashioned terror. The ladies are largely interchangeable and the cops are filled with tough guy dialogue, but I came to see Santa slay! There are quite a few kills and they are largely satisfying with practical gore effects that arrive extra bloody. Santa’s weapon of choice is a large axe and he is seldom seen without it. The problem comes with the lighting or lack thereof in many cases. Norway is apparently deprived of light switches, as nobody turns on a light when they walk into a room. The killer has plenty of shadows to hide in, but they are so dark I can’t always see what he’s up to. This is particularly frustrating during the stalk and slash scenarios, as viewers are subjected to watching silhouettes wander around in the dark.
Clocking in at one hour and forty-five minutes, the movie feels bloated by about twenty minutes. There is no shortage of familiar tropes, as we get everything from the alcoholic ex-cop to the snacking coroner and a group of backbiting friends causing friction within their group. One of the women is mute, but this is a throwaway trait that never pays off. Santa teleports around the house and is always just around the next corner. Reinert Kiil knows all the story points but cannot rise above the clichés and tie it all together into something fresh and exciting. I welcome new holiday slashers, but this one lacks cohesion and the absence of proper lighting is more frustrating than I can handle. There are plenty of other seasonal horror films out there that would better serve your time, so you may want to give this one only a cursory look.
Video and Audio:
The picture is dark and full of digital crush. The problem is with the way it was shot, as the transfer appears to be in fine shape.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 track features both Norwegian and English dialogue as characters frequently bounce between languages. Music cues are powerful and dialogue remains clean and free from distortion. There is a bit of bass in the soundtrack and the rear channels get a slight workout.
English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
The theatrical trailer has been included.