The Nights Before Christmas (2020) Review
Who's on the naughty list this year? Santa and Mrs Claus return on a murderous rampage in this Christmas slasher.
Who would’ve thought that Mr and Mrs Claus would turn out to be a pair of psychotic serial killers? Directed by Paul Tanter, The Nights Before Christmas follows an FBI Agent named Natalie Parker, played by Kate Schroder, who must track down a killer-duo who escape from an asylum for the criminally insane.
In full Christmas spirit, the killers take on the personas of Santa and Mrs Claus. The movie is a direct sequel to Once Upon a Time at Christmas with all surviving cast members returning.
The Nights Before Christmas starts with a woman named Courtney, played by Keegan Chambers. Courtney is a survivor of the Claus killers and we see her suffering with survivor's guilt. On top of that, she has post-traumatic stress following the incidents, which makes her afraid of Christmas. After the mysterious death of her father, it’s presumed these killers have escaped and are on the rampage again. It’s a race to see who will find them first, the FBI or Courtney.
It says a lot about a film when Santa Claus massacring people loses your attention
You’d think that a Christmas film with Mr and Mrs Claus as psycho killers would be fun. Sadly, you’d be extremely mistaken. The film doesn’t try to replicate the grindhouse slashers that can be cheesy but enjoyable. Instead it’s pretty boring. Various people are killed within the first 30 minutes, but none of it is exciting. It says a lot about a film when Santa Claus massacring people loses your attention.
The killers are generic and incredibly predictable. Mrs Claus, played by Sayla de Goede, is a cheap copy of Harley Quinn, with her hair, makeup and outfit styled to match the character. It feels like a knock-off Halloween costume that someone bought. The strangest thing is that you’d expect a psychotic Santa to be a fun twist, but Simon Phillips just doesn’t deliver the goods.
There is no one to root for in this film as the FBI are unimaginative, the survivors are passionless and the killers are unoriginal. The Nights Before Christmas tries to be an intelligent slasher film, but the cast and narrative just let it down.
If you want a cheesy but entertaining slasher Christmas film, watch the original Black Christmas. I’d only recommend watching this movie if you want to torture yourself. A cat and mouse chase between Santa and the FBI should’ve been a cult classic, instead it is a hugely disappointing film that could've been so much more than what we got.
Available to watch on Amazon Prime.