While it was far from the first film to feature a killer Santa, (that was To All A Goodnight), Silent Night, Deadly Night and the controversy it caused put the genre on the map. It kicked off a wave of sequels, imitators and even a reboot that is still going on 35 years later.
Prolific director Paul Tanter (Age Of The Living Dead, Kill Ratio) jumped on that trend in 2017 with Once Upon A Time At Christmas. It wasn’t particularly well-received but somebody must have liked it. Or at least enough people watched it that we now have The Nights Before Christmas making its world premiere at this year’s edition of Blood In The Snow.
Picking up a year after the original, Courtney (Keegan Chambers) has relocated and gone into hiding after surviving the killings. Her dad shows up since she’s apparently so scared of being found she won’t answer their calls. Failing to persuade her to return home for the holidays he heads back alone. Seeing an axe-wielding Santa standing in the road he swerves and ends up in the ditch. And shortly after that, dead.
Making the connection the FBI sends Agent Parker (Kate Schroder) to investigate. She and her team find “NAUGHTY” written in blood in the snow. It’s now official Santa (Simon Phillips, The Last Scout, Gehenna: Where Death Lives) and Mrs. Claus (Sayla de Goede) are back. And they still have Jennifer (Shannon Cotter) and her mother in their sights. Can the feds stop them this time? Or will this become a trilogy?
I haven’t seen the first film so I can’t say if this is an improvement. But I can’t imagine it could be a lot worse and still warrant a sequel. The Nights Before Christmas is a generic as it gets slasher. There’s an attempt to justify some of the killings this time. But when the film starts with somebody dousing folk with gasoline and setting them on fire it’s hard to make them appear sympathetic later.
Shifting the killer’s focus midway through The Nights Before Christmas from his original victims is another bad move. Having him go after the board of directors of the asylum he escaped from prior to the original killing spree doesn’t make him sympathetic or an anti-hero. It just dilutes the plot and gives him some victims we care even less about than the originals.
And as for Santa’s Harley Quinn wannabe partner, she’s neither scary nor sexy, just annoying. Annoying to the point of wishing the feds just dispensed with the law and shot her when they had the chance. Speaking of which, when will people in these movies learn to kill the psycho when they have the chance? Swerve around the nutcase that tried to kill my daughter? I’d hit the gas. At another point, somebody has a gun on Santa and tries to bring him in rather than take the point-blank headshot. WTF? The Nights Before Christmas is full of this kind of stupidity
Not that stupid even comes close to describing the twists that end The Nights Before Christmas. But given the rest of the film, they fit right in.
The Nights Before Christmas will have its world premiere November 23rd as part of Blood In The Snow 2019. You can maybe find release information on Facebook.