Once Upon A Time at Christmas has a fun premise. A killer Mr & Mrs Claus go on a rampage through a town re-creating the twelve days of Christmas song but with blood & bodies.
Unfortunately the end result is an absolute shocker. A boring, plot-hole ridden mess that literally opens & ends with the exact same scene. Watching Once Upon a Time at Christmas you’ll be convinced that those involved thought ‘wouldn’t be cool to have a slasher based around the twelve days of Christmas song’ & that was it.
Offering the most obvious plot twist, one that even the most distracted watcher will see coming almost immediately, Once Upon A Time at Christmas gets off to a bad start.
We see a woman dressed as Mrs Claus in a jail cell. She tries to bait the police officer guarding her into letting her out but he is having none of her. Not that she cares though, claiming that ‘daddy’ is going to come & bust her out. Played by Sayla de Goede, she does an absolutely unbearable impression of Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn. We’re talking pigtails, skimpy clothing & an irritating voice. While Daddy (Simon Phillips) is a British war-vet dressed as Father Christmas.
Together the pair slaughters their way through the town seemingly at random, or at least it seems that way to the useless local sheriff (Barry Kennedy) and his deputy (Jeff Ellenberger) who just can’t work out why all of this is happening.
As the body count increases to eye-wateringly high levels they eventually realise there is some sort of link to the young shopping mall elf Jennifer (Laurel Brady), the most ‘final girl’ you’ll ever see outside of a 70s/80s slasher.
Cheap looking & poorly edited, Once Upon A Time at Christmas doesn’t even try to make sense. We have the most ineffective team of police officers ever. So bad that a group of FBI agents can be slaughtered in the actual station. We have groups of people murdered within earshot of others & no-one hears a word.
More? How about a bar being the scene of mass-murder yet opens a few days later for business as normal. Or the insane amount of conveniences to allow the jamming in of the twelve days of Christmas song. Then there are characters introduced without a word or name given before they are killed off often with some shockingly bad CGI. Throw in terrible acting, groan-inducing dialogue (this selfie is totally going on my Facebook wall”) & what you have is a bad horror film.
There are some unintentionally hilarious moments where the film embarrasses itself. Such as the British forensic officer. Briefly introduced just so he can make a ham-fisted reference that can be called back to later.
Not just a bad Christmas horror, that’s easy. We don’t enjoy ripping apart anyone’s work but when it’s this bad there is little else to be said. At least it looks Christmassy!
Once Upon A Time At Christmas