Very disappointing comedy/fantasy/horror that isn’t quite any of those things.
I don’t know much about the origins of the story of Santa Claus, but here the Fins put a twist on it, imagining that he was not a benevolent, gift-doling diabetic but instead a nasty old man who reviles in punishing those who misbehave. And a US/British-led archeological dig in the mountains near a Finnish village has also just awoken the vengeful geriatric and his “elves” (who, speaking of geriatrics aren’t elves at all but instead zombie-like, fully-naked old men who help Santa with his diabolic plot). Once reindeer start getting slaughtered, equipment disappearing and other odd things, the villagers band together and take a stand before Santa and his minions escalate their diabolism.
Sounds like it should be a pretty decent horror/comedy, maybe something like Gremlins. And in fairness, with a bigger budget maybe it would have been. But as is, it’s underwhelming on essentially every front. Not really funny, not scary at all- Santa’s never shown and the most frightening thing about the elves is the amount of shriveled penis the viewer is made to endure. In fairness, it is cold in Finland.
In fact, watching it you’re struck that it is essentially a kid’s movie. Next to no gore, very little onscreen violence, no swearing, no sex. But it’s rated R. When I read the synopsis and saw the R rating, I figured this would have all of the aforementioned. This leads me to believe it received the R rating almost solely on the basis of the amount of screen-time the naked elves are given. I know the MPAA can be weird with their ratings, so I wouldn’t be shocked if this was the equivalent of a PG movie when released in Europe, but it got slapped with an R here for all the dong shots.
End sidebar. Not recommended. To be fair, my expectations coming in were an R-rated horror/comedy that provides a little twist on the Santa myth. In reality, it’s a sterile, low-budget, family Christmas movie. But a mediocre, at best, one of those anyways.
2 out of 5 stars