The idea of Santa Claus being a bastard is hardly a new one but this comedy horror from 2005 sees him at his most murderous, with the film opening in style as Santa (Bill Goldberg) comes down the chimney, bursts through the fireplace and murders a family who have all gathered together to celebrate the holiday. Sure, the budget’s clearly not a huge one and some of the effects are patchy, but it’s undoubtedly a funny and nicely brutal opening.
Unfortunately what follows is a very uneven comedy, when Santa is out and about in the small town of Hell (as yes, this isn’t going to win any awards for subtlety) killing both people no matter if they are naughty or nice there’s some entertainingly over the top action scenes. The male lead Nicholas (Douglas Smith) is quite bland and annoying however, though at least romantic interest and kick ass hero Mac (Emilie de Ravin) has some okay lines and funny scenes, though why she’s interested in dull old Nicholas is never quite explained.
There’s a fair amount of filler in the first half including an origin tale for Santa that’s told in stop motion animation which should be charming but is just a bit dull, while the antics of a corrupt Pastor who spends his congregation’s donations at a strip club is just an excuse for some gratuitous female nudity. Some of the dialogue is suspect too, with the words retard and queer being used as insults at various points rather disappointingly, in moments which are meant to be funny when they’re really not.
At least when it’s in action pic mode, which it is for the majority of its second half, it is a lot, lot better, but then it fluffs the ending, if it had gone for an all out crazy fight this might have merited “Now That’s What I Call Quite Good” status despite my issues with it. But the final scenes feel quite limp, quite pedestrian, as if they couldn’t really be arsed any more so wrapped things up as quickly as they could without any real care or finesse, and due to that it’s something that isn’t worth bothering with.