I just watched this movie for the first time last night. I have been wanting to see it since it first came out and finally decided this would be a good time since we are only a few weeks from Christmas. I have to say, I’m slightly disappointed. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I have conflicting feelings about this movie. Maybe if I were to look at it from a young adult perspective, I may have been able to enjoy it a little more.
Everyone seems to put this on their top ten holiday horror film lists. I’m not saying I disagree with this, but what rubs me the wrong way is how high people put it on these lists. Maybe it is because there aren’t a lot of horror movies that specifically revolve around Christmas or because there just aren’t many GOOD ones. Ok, thinking about if I made my own list… there really is not a lot to choose from so I guess it is needed. But it certainly doesn’t belong at the top! Black Christmas (1974 and 2006 remake) and Gremlins (1984) would certainly be at the top of mine.
I’ll start with what I did like about the movie. First off, the cinematography is beautiful. It certainly is a well-made film with good special effects, good location, and obviously a decent budget. The movie is filmed and takes place in beautiful, mountainous Finland. A team performs an archeological dig in hopes of grave robbing the ancient burial ground of Santa Claus. But what they uncover is believed to still have a pulse! A young boy named Pietari witnesses the whole thing and is ready for war against this Santa, because he is not the Santa that we know and love- he is a dark, evil and hungry Santa. He is not your Coca-Cola version of Santa Clause. This Santa tears up naughty little kids. Pietari is a cute and likable character and I thoroughly enjoyed the build-up of the first half of the film, but then it begins to get a little overambitious.
I really liked the idea of the myth of this demon-like Santa Claus. Pietari looks through numerous books and does a lot of research uncovering the true story of this version of Santa Claus. I did a little research myself, hoping to find some sort evidence of a similar story with no success. I obviously know this is a fictional story but it would have been cool if the inspiration had come from some true mythological origin.
I hate how it seems like all the adults in this movie could not come up with a good idea to save their lives. All the town’s kids have been kidnapped by elves and tied up in potato sacks. Piertari comes up with the plan to save the town. Every decision was made by this 10 year old little boy (which includes helicopters and dynamite). It’s a little over the top. And the fact that we never even get to SEE the real Santa really irked me. It’s not like they didn’t have it in their budget to show us the demon Santa. The sneak peak was not enough for me. I was really disappointed in that.
Thank goodness for the final scene- getting to see what happens to the elves after they are sold is really cute and gives reason for the title of the film. This movie reminds me of classic fantasy fairy tales- not the Disney versions we grew up with but the dark, original versions. There are a lot of good laughs along the way, but it seems like this film is in limbo for what age it is appropriate for. I would say that kids may like this, being slightly similar to A Nightmare Before Christmas. But there is a lot of elf nudity, so that is a no-go. Overall this is a cute movie, but I don’t think it should be categorizes as a horror movie, nor at the top of any holiday horror movie list. I’ll stick to Tim Burton films in the future if I am in the mood for something like this.
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