3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 82 minutes
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“Psycho Santa” (released as a double-feature DVD with “Satan Claus”) may be a horrible name for a movie, but this is actually a decent slasher film despite having some of the pitfalls associated with low-budget horror films (bad special effects, spotty acting, etc.). There are some really nice touches here, and that puts it above some of its rivals.

The story is fairly familiar — a man in a Santa outfit (Jason
Barnes) stalks and kills people. His story is told in flashbacks during a couple’s (Jeff and Michelle Samford) trip to a Christmas party. That’s all standard, almost generic stuff. It’s the way the subject matter is handled that gives this film its shine.

There are moments in this movie that are almost, and this is a huge compliment, Argento-like. This is most apparent with the murder of a blind woman by a couple of thieves, and a scene with a young boy who is unaware of his impending death as he sits at a piano.

If this movie would’ve stuck solely with moments like that, it would’ve been brilliant, but it plays with all the staples of the genre, including lingering camera shots on bare breasts, a slumber party and a death by fire. In doing so, it pays homage to the genre, but it also waters down the film. Not because it does too much, though. No, it waters it down because in doing all these “regular” scenes it showcases the faults of the genre, which is a lack of originality (except in death scenes) and a reliance on women as meat.

The movie definitely has its faults, but as far as slasher films go, this one beats almost anything Hollywood has done the past decade.

Posted on December 25, 2005 in Reviews by

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