Saturday, 24 October 2020

The Nights Before Christmas

d. Paul Tanter; w. Simon Phillips, Paul Tanter; p. Simon Phillips, Paul Tanter, Ken Bressers; cast: Simon Phillips, Sayla de Goede, Kate Schroeder, Marc Gammal, Keegan Chambers, Shannon Cotter

This sequel (with prequel flashbacks) to Once Upon a Time at Christmas functions as a stand-alone film. One reason why that enjoyable 2017 slasher stood out from the crowded psycho-in-a-Santa-suit subgenre is because it was structured as a police procedural, and the same trick works here. Schroeder is terrific as the FBI agent searching for a link between the new victims (which turn out to be not quite as fun – or obvious – as last time). At 104 minutes this is a tad too long and could probably have lost a few of the numerous times when Schroeder deduces “It’s an actual list.” Nevertheless, it’s good festive bloody fun with Phillips and de Goede hamming it up gleefully and plenty of production value on screen. Tanter pops up in the stand-out scene, a boardroom massacre. Originally announced as Twice Upon…, this was shot in Canada in January 2019 and premiered 10 months later in Toronto. A third outing for Santa and Mrs Claus, One Christmas Night in a Toy Store, is in development.

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