Director: Armand Petri
Cast: Holly Bonney, Dawn Streeck, McKenna Buck
Production Company: Reel Nightmare Films
Runtime: 60 minutes
Christmas and horror movies go together like sleighs and slaying. Psycho killers seem to just love those special days on the calendar. Director Armand Petri brings us the ho-ho-horror with his new holiday slasher film, Dead by Christmas (2018)…
In the movie, a group of old friends are reunited for the holiday season. They all grew up in the same orphanage in Louisiana, and had similar problems with a particular priest. Now, someone is killing them off one by one, but who’s responsible for these murders?
The actors do a good job of portraying childhood acquaintances. Holly Bonney, McKenna Buck, Cody Wise, Hilary Porter, Austin William Morgan, and Nicholas Hemb are convincing as friends with a sinister secret. Dawn Streeck is appropriately odd as Sister Mary Nicholas.
The movie successfully uncovers the creepiest things about Christmas, and uses them to its advantage. There’s nothing like seeing old friends, but sometimes those friends can remind us of times we’d rather forget. Even candy canes and gingerbread cookies have a dark side in this film.
Flashing Christmas lights are traditionally used to make your home more festive. Here, the swirling colours add to the surreal nature of the events, and can even be psychedelic at times. If nothing else, the vibrant luminescence is interesting to look at and keeps you in the moment.
The killer in this movie dresses like a typical department store Santa Claus, which is already creepy in my opinion! The mask is the finishing touch that puts this Santa over the top. Its made of rigid plastic, giving it a distant and emotionless expression. The empty eyes and slight smile are haunting.
Horror stingers are used throughout the movie’s soundtrack to emphasize the appearance of Santa, or some kind of surprising moment. These little bursts of music are fun, and reminded me of the way things used to be in classic slasher films.
In fact, Dead by Christmas shares a number of thematic similarities with Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and its many sequels. If you often find yourself watching those films on a cold winter’s day, then you should probably check this one out too.
Dead by Christmas is a holiday treat that rings in the new, while embracing the traditions of the past. Do you like your horror movies with a little seasonal cheer? You better unwrap this gift first…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…