Christmas Blood – original title: Juleblod – is a 2018 Norwegian slasher horror feature film written and directed by Reinert Kiil (The House; Whore). The Sanctum Film peoduction stars Julianne Aga, Pernille Baggeranas and Ida Malene Smith Bakke.
There’s a serial killer on the loose in the frosty wilds of Norway, and he’s unstoppable, dressed like Santa, he knows who’s been naughty or nice, and he’s doing something about it. Essentially, he’s Krampus without the horns, and he’s hungry for Christmas Blood.
Unfortunately, as can be deduced from the plot description, writer/director Reinert Kiil’s movie is a prolix, Norwegian aping of the long-depleted American slasher movie, with a script that lacks focus, originality, and efficacy; it comes off scattered and lethargic, and relies on moth-eaten, and at times, ridiculous plot devices; most notably when Stig Henrik Hoff’s character, Thomas Rasch, the burned-out detective here filling in for Donald Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis, marks out the path of the Santa killings.
It would be a humorously satiric moment if the rest of the movie weren’t so determinedly straight-faced and somber; the asymmetrical and graceless result is yet another unfortunate mimicry of American slasher films. From there, Kiil continues to follow one exhausted trope after another: the viewer gets a close-quarters bevy of frolicking female characters getting into predictable backbiting and cat fights, the aforementioned Rasch being an alcoholic, characters repeatedly doing stupid things which lead directly to their deaths, and the tired, relentless-killer-on-an-inexplicable-rampage clichés.
Cinematographer Benjamin Mosli’s work leaves something to be desired as well; even though the story takes place in Norway during the Christmas season – a naturally pitchy time – far too many scenes are left in nearly complete darkness, producing confusion as to what’s going on and giving one the uneasy feeling that glaucoma may be setting in.
Sound design by Alexander Bellizia and original music by Kim Berg are possibly the only two upsides to the movie, with strategic bass rumbles setting the nerves on edge and a subdued, creamy synth score providing a badly needed tension to an otherwise flimsy bit of work. And even though there’s not much of worth to find in Kiil’s script, at least he didn’t completely capitulate to the hackneyed and uncritical Final Girl demands of the sub-genre.
Ben Spurling, HORRORPEDIA
“Slow, off-putting, and odd, Christmas Blood was not a great viewing experience for me. The pace stretches the film out to an overly long 105 minutes, and there’s a chance I would have liked this movie a lot more if the filler was trimmed out and Kiil had a better handle on the comedic moments.” Cody Hamman, Arrow in the Head
” …the plot has purpose, and Santa isn’t just mindlessly offing everyone he comes across along the way. But boy does the lack of sustained energy make it tough to power through 104 minutes. The film’s chief technical problem is that it is tragically under-lit. Lighting looks professional, yet there is so little of it that staring at silhouettes becomes a regular challenge for the viewer.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt
Christmas Blood will be available via Artsploitation Films on December 11, 2018, on DVD and on digital platforms.
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