Initial Thought: I usually find anthologies to be pretty fun. You get some really good pieces even if most are garbage. The original ABCs of Death had so many horrible entries, but it had it's fair selection of excellent little shorts as well. This film goes along the lines of A Nightmare Before Christmas. You can watch it on either Halloween or Christmas which is why this one in particular caught my interest. Plus it has a fairly decent cast.
Characters/Acting: Many of the actors here seem to be Canadian. There are many people here who had small roles in Degrassi. There are also many who were in Supernatural. The biggest name here is William Shatner, but there are a few other memorable actors who stand out. The acting is pretty good for the most part. Santa was cheesy, but I'm pretty sure he was meant to be.
Story: Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil. The one I am most excited for is Santa taking on zombie elves. The Krampus one just reminds me of the film coming up with the comedic actors, but it might still be kind of fun. The Christmas tree one looks pretty crazy. Students doing a documentary where they aren't supposed to just sounds like every single one of its kind. I'm interested to see what all happens with the DJ played by William Shatner. I do appreciate that these all have some kind of connection to each other. I think I prefer everything being interwoven like it is here rather than just unrelated segmenting. I won't spoil how each of them show their connections. That way it keeps that interesting bit for when you see it. Okay I don't know why, but I absolutely loved the beginning credits music.
DJ Dan Segment: This is really the overall arc sort of thing. Although it isn't done in that typical sort of way. We pretty much watch as he becomes drunk as the day goes on. I like the humor that we get here such as the "Fuck Christmas" part. So it seems this segment doesn't have all that much to do with much other than the characters are listening to him on the radio. I do like his scenes though because well it's William Shatner and he does play his part well. His stuff continues during the credits. I would hardly call this one of the segments though.
The Documentary Kids Segment: So this one starts off like your typical kids checking out a haunted building scenario. It even has it's jump scares that actually happened to catch me off guard. Oh yeah still going through cliches. I'm hoping that this has some kind of originality. There we go something I didn't expect to happen! It gets a bit more strange from there. It makes you wonder why it is happening. Though the ending actually reveals what is going on nicely. This was probably the weakest of the segments though. The ending after the reveal just fell flat for me. I wasn't expecting much from this segment anyways to be honest.
Krampus Segment: Right off the bat you can tell that this family is distant with each other. The kids are spiteful, defiant, and wicked. The only one of the family who seems to want to try is the father. It doesn't take very long for things to start to get strange. There are some truly interesting twists to the family. We don't see too much of Krampus here which kind of sucks. Holy shit that ending was incredibly twisted and unexpected. I think this pretty much ties with the Christmas Tree segment in terms of enjoyment.
Christmas Tree Segment: You can tell that this is a loving family. Things get eerie after they find the tree they desire. I like that this one builds up it's horror. Man horror kids are just way too freaky! The twist honestly shouldn't shock the audience. It's more about what comes before and after the reveal. That in itself is what makes this a good segment. The ending of this itself was quite different than expected. The way this paced itself had me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen with the family. I really respected this story and that's why it ties with the fun Krampus segment.
Santa VS Zombie Elves Segment: Well that was an interesting start. It starts off sweet and innocent and quickly changes its tone. It's a bit cheesy here mostly because of Santa. There is a lot of blood and Santa proving he is a badass. I swear midget zombie elves would be horrifying in real life especially since these are fast and smart. Santa has a few cool kill ideas up his sleeves. Holy crap what an excellent ending. I seriously didn't see that twist coming! This was my favorite of the segments for sure and the one I absolutely wanted to see.
Directing/Writing: Since this is an anthology you can expect quite a few people behind the scenes. Two of the directors (Grant Harvey and Brett Sullivan) have worked on the Ginger Snaps series as well as Orphan Black (among other Canadian shows). Steven Hoban seems to be new at working with these two however. Pretty much all of the writers here have worked on Darknet of which Steven Hoban is known for directing. Doug Taylor has some movie writing experience with Splice, but unfortunately he also wrote Uwe Boll's In the Name of the King. Pascal Trottier is also known for a few films like Colony which is all kinds of awesome. Then unfortunately he did Hellions which I saw recently. That one was just plain weird and I'm still not sure I liked it or even understood it.
Final Thoughts: It's funny how the weakest one is the one I least cared for while the best one was the one I was hyped about. For the Santa segment alone I would highly recommend it. I say skip through the documentary kids though. That just rehashes a bunch of ideas you have probably seen a couple of times before. The other segments are definitely worth seeing too for their pacing and interesting twists and turns. I would certainly watch this again.