Saturday, 21 November 2015

SECRET SANTA - Review By Greg Klymkiw - 2015 Toronto Blood in the Snow Film Festival

One good poster & one bad poster for SECRET SANTA.
Not that it matters since the movie reeks.
Secret Santa (2015)
Dir. Mikey McMurran
Starring: Annette Wozniak, Geoff Almond, Keegan Chambers

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Some movies are so dreadful you almost feel bad for the poor actors humiliating themselves, but then you shrug and say, "No biggie, they were well paid for their efforts." Here's the rub, though. Some movies that stink to high heaven are low budget indie feature films where you know damn well the actors, not to mention the entire crew, are working for peanuts.

Secret Santa definitely falls into the latter category.

A pleasant, attractive and possibly talented group of young actors are stuck in this idiotic, repugnant Yuletide horror chiller which offers plenty of babes, plenty of gore and virtually nothing else. In this risibly written, unimaginative cesspool, a group of college students (attending what must be a college for the mentally challenged) are having a Christmas party after their final exam. One of the gals moonlights as a cyber sex performer, another is a T.A. carrying on with her professor, yet another is a foul-mouthed chippie who's so horny she's willing to bang a mega-nerd.

One of the girls is dead. She's been murdered already. Though her friends occasionally express concern as to her whereabouts, they mostly hang around the seasonally-decorated suburban home, suck back the booze and engage in endless, uninteresting conversation which reflects either the imagination of the filmmaker or the milieu in which he resides.

The babes of SECRET SANTA
don't humiliate themselves as much as
those of us who sit through the entire movie.
As the night passes, the friends are knocked off, one-by-one with the implements they've discovered in their "Secret Santa" gift boxes until eventually, the killer is revealed and a showdown occurs twixt the psycho and the nicest babe of the lot. The killer has "you-know-who-it-is-twenty-minutes-in" spray painted all over him/her/it since the movie is so underpopulated that it's not much of a surprise. As well, one would possibly have to be as stupid as the characters populating the film not to see the reveal that's so obviously telegraphed.

There's purported humour in the film, but none of it is funny. The scares are non-existent since the horror set pieces are directed with all the skill of an inebriated Krampus wielding a cudgel. The gore is plentiful, but none of that is ever much fun unless it's utilized in something resembling a good movie.

When one thinks back upon the genius of Bob Clark's classic Black Christmas, or the Joan Collins segment in 1972's Tales from the Crypt, or Finland's clever chiller Rare Exports or even the recent A Christmas Horror Story one realizes the considerable potential of mixing horror with the season to be jolly. Alas, the makers of Secret Santa have very little on their minds. The movie is sloppily rendered, sub-juvenile and distinctly moronic.

Or, as a character in Black Christmas says: "Ho! Ho! Ho! Shit!"


Secret Santa is playing at the 2015 Toronto Blood in the Snow Film Festival.