Good Tidings is a gritty & grim Christmas-related horror that begins with three men dressed in Santa outfits & masks killing a man as he gets in his car. There appears to be no reason as to why, making it clear early on that this trio are psychopaths.
Meanwhile a homeless man named Frank (Colin Murtagh) has rounded up a load of other homeless people & got them into a closed-down courthouse. He has a big heart & just wants to help others like him but his behaviour is viewed with suspicion by some of the group.
The first 30+ minutes of the Good Tidings tries to delve into some of the more important characters backstories. We learn some of the reasons as to why some of them ended up on the street & discover that Frank is a war-veteran. The attempt to make characters you’ll care about is admirable & most of the actors do well. Ultimately though this Frank’s movie as the trio of psycho Santa’s arrive at the courthouse & start terrorising those inside.
The war-veteran side of Frank comes out, a side to him that he never wanted to unearth again but he has no choice if he is to save himself & the others.
Good Tidings gets a lot right. The characters are decent, the actors good, it’s violent, gory & the grimy abandoned court-room is a cool looking environment.
The lead, Colin Murtagh does well. His quiet demeanour & subtle nuances make Frank a likable character. It’s the three psycho Santa’s that you’ll remember though even if they never take off their masks. Little touches they have, such as how they move their bodies & react to certain characters makes it clear who is in charge etc. That’s impressive stuff.
However, where the movie is found lacking is with its story. An idea that would have been better served as a short. It’s dragged out to an excruciating level, with far too many scenes of the killer Santa’s laughing & teasing their victims. Done once, it’s effective, done twice, it’s pushing it but the amount of times it’s done here is painful to watch.
At least 30 minutes could have been trimmed off this film & it still would have had time to build characters. Another flaw is how it doesn’t really feel like a Christmas movie. Replace the Santa costumes & occasional singing/humming of songs & this wouldn’t be a Christmas horror at all. It’s not the worst culprit out there but it definitely could have done better.
Still, it’s a solid horror with enough enjoyable characters/actors & violence to hold your attention. If it had been a 30-minute short it would probably be a much better film!