Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by David Fincher.
Starring Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton. Arliss Howard.
Thriller, US, 118 minutes, certificate 15.

Released in cinemas in the UK on October 27th and streaming on Netflix from November 10th.


There is a trend in low-budget horror to dress up werewolves in seemingly ill-suited costumes. This low-budget British horror comedy goes the extra distance by throwing Father Christmas into the mix and having the sainted giver of gifts fall under the curse of the lycanthrope as he goes about his business in, of all places, Hastings. Lucy is witnessing and filming these wacky shenanigans, returning home for the holidays after her monster-hunting YouTube show has failed to attract an audience. As Santa chows down on several victims, Lucy, with the help of her boyfriend, mother, and childhood friend Dustin, tries to rescue Santa from his flesh-eating urges and reverse the curse.


To be fair low-budget cinema is a difficult endeavour, and without the backbone of a strong script, everything else can be an uphill struggle. Wisely kept a brief seventy minutes, WEREWOLF SANTA struggles at times to justify its existence with few laughs and scares to give the viewer any other reason to watch. The plotting is thin and some of the characters are poorly sketched out.


Adding to this already sizable problem is a sense of poor direction and execution. Displayed in a found footage style, Hayles has a poor grasp of the format, failing to overcome the genre's biggest problem, which is why anyone would keep filming in such a situation, which stretches the film's credibility. In a film like this, such an issue should barely matter, perhaps even adding to the sense of ridiculousness, but sadly, all that sticks out are the film's missteps.


The tone is also a problem here. The film swings clumsily into scenes where the situation takes a turn for the serious, but each attempt to do so comes across as amateurish, especially when it decides to swing straight back into laughter mode. Unfortunately, any laughs that the film may raise come across as purely unintentional; the titular character itself is little more than a man in an ill-fitting Santa costume with a store-bought werewolf mask, and the frantic camera work, and cost-cutting cuts to static fail to hide. Even the comic book-styled caption description boxes highlight the lack of directorial skill on display here.


A recorded audio intro from film critic Joe Bob Briggs, accompanied by very basic animation, may draw a curious niche audience to this, but there is very little else that deserves to draw a wider audience looking for low-budget lycanthropic mayhem.


Iain MacLeod.


This web site is owned and published by London FrightFest Limited.


FrightFest is the registered trade mark of London FrightFest Limited.

© 2000 - 2023

Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans