It’s holiday season and it’s the perfect time for Once Upon a Time at Christmas to celebrate it’s North American premiere at the Blood In the Snow Canadian Film Festival. Seriously, what’s Christmas without a little bit of carnage?
In the small town of Woodridge, Santa and Mrs. Claus have come to wreak havoc in the twelve days before Christmas. As their rampage escalates each day, it becomes obvious that one girl in town is somehow tied to each murder, but how? And is she complicit in the violence? Sheriff Mitchell (Barry Kennedy) and officer Fullard (Jeff Ellenberger) are the only two competent public service employees because the mayor is way more concerned with going to a strip club and the FBI agents who are brought in to help aren’t quick enough to keep up with these killers.
Simon Phillips plays Santa Claus and he’s good fun. Imagine the Santa from And All Through the House and The Joker had a baby and you’ve got this Santa who comes complete with a Harley Quinn-esque Mrs. Claus. Sayla de Goede is clearly having a good time in her pigtails and hot pants as she wields her baseball bat alongside Santa’s trusty ax.
While this may be a small budget film, director Paul Tanner excels at showing off his skills. Beautiful overhead shots, a clever POV and a pretty impressive tracking shot are sprinkled throughout this classic holiday slasher film. With plenty of blood, one liners (some good, some bad) and a unique reasoning for the killer’s actions, Once Upon a Time at Christmas reminds us that a couple of homicidal maniacs let loose on a small town is what the holidays are made of for horror fans. Consider me queued up for the sequel that is already in pre-production.
Lisa Fremont | Twitter: @lcfremont
Images: Blood In The Snow Festival