Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Christmas Presence (2018)

More holiday horrors. This English production starts off with a couple of young girls playing in the woods. Seemingly one of them is grabbed by a tree or something before the setting moves to years later. McKenzie has booked a house for her friends to party at during the Christmas season. In case you were wondering she is one of the little girls from earlier now all grown up. He father has recently died so everyone is coming to cheer her up. To that end she has rented a house in the country. I’m sure that it’s close proximity to her sister’s place of disappearance wont’ be important.

After meeting the other characters we are then given multiple party montages with drinking, snarky comments, and even an impromptu lingerie show! One of them is a clothes designer who gifts his friends clothes from his new line. There is a lot of talk about gender, politics, and being gay. None of this particularly bothered me for the content. I just mention it because between that and the extended party scenes it takes far too long to get to any of the spooky stuff. Though eventually Hugo, the fashion designer, disappears and they split up to go looking for him. So here we go with the horror… right? Nope they all wander around, some feelings are discussed, and eventually they return back to the house.

After a while they find his body by the woodpile where I guess they never thought to look earlier. That is when the spooky stuff starts to happen. There is some malevolent force picking them off one at a time. They all see something different as it uses their greatest fear to kill them. Though some of them are a stretch. I mean the claustrophobic girl dying by a couch “eating” her! Sure she suffocates but is that really the best they could do? If they had been playing this for laughs maybe but this is supposed to be serious.

Eventually we find out there is a local caretaker who I guess worships Satan, honestly one throwaway line ten seconds before the end credits roll is all we get. He is there to clean up the bodies after they are murdered. To answer my question from earlier the location near the sister’s disappearance ends up not being important at all. They never tie her the Satanist and other than being McKenzie’s fear. She has guilt over leaving her, which is never completely explained either. So, in the end it seemingly is a random coincidence.

Not a fan of this one. The story does have an interesting germ of an idea at it’s core but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. I was unsatisfied with the limited screentime that the Satan worshipping caretaker gets. He actually seemed like an interesting fella but is hardly onscreen. Instead, we are treated to a bunch of uninteresting caricatures with McKenzie and her friends. I don’t blame the cast as they all seem to be doing their best with the paper thin story and terrible dialogue. I just didn’t buy that these folks would actually be friends and want to hang out. The fact that the movie doubles down and tries to make the plot more about the drama in their lives and less about the horror just added to how tedious sitting thru Christmas Presence was.

The visuals are stunning
The deaths in this movie are fairly tame. Many happen off screen and others are just odd. I’ve already mentioned the death by couch but have you ever seen a death by coughing up buttons? Like actual buttons from a cardigan! Maybe I missed something but was it established that the character had a phobia about buttons? I did find one particular kill with a character slashing his own throat only to be stabbed and hacked after dropping to the ground to be solid. The final kill in the movie has a Wicker Man vibe to it but is poorly done. Again, I feel the need to remind filmmakers to never remind the audience of a much better movie they’d rather be watching. This was a terrible way to end the movie and left me even more disappointed in what I had just watched.

While most of my review has been negative I will give the movie some credit. It is beautifully shot. They certainly know how to make the woods and old house look and feel creepy. Some of the creature effects are good as well. But in the end this one starts off slow and ends with a whimper. I can’t recommend Christmas Presence.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

No comments:

Post a Comment