THE NIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS *** 2019 USA Dir: Paul Tanter. 101 mins
A lunatic, appropriately named Nicholas (Simon Phillips), murdered 30 people at an asylum with his wife Michelle/Mrs. Claus (Sayla de Goede). Now, four years later, they’re back to wreak havoc in the small town where it all started—and they’re checking new names off of their naughty list.
THE NIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS has a lot going for it. Phillips is amazing as the darkly comedic, murderous Santa Claus. The outfit he and his missus wear are screaming to be cosplayed—from her spiked heels to his mouth full of gold teeth. There’s some fun gore, and the director does a decent job of balancing the psycho slasher story with components of an FBI-focused crime drama. It’s a fun, unique take on killer Santa.
However, there are some aspects of this film that feel awfully familiar. The killer with the almost supernatural ability appear anywhere. The partner-in-crime ambulance jailbreak. Mrs. Claus as a Harley Quinn rip-off. And I was never 100% sure who the story was about. The killer couple? The teen girls who survived the massacre? The FBI agent? But for all of this, if you’re in it for some gory kills and an FBI mystery lite, it’s worth a watch.
Review by Julia Lynch