Horror and Christmas is a wonderful example of juxtaposition where that blend of seasonal cheer and mind-numbing terror make for the most interesting stories in the genre. Much like the genre as a whole they can be effective and creepy much like Bob Clark’s ‘Black Christmas’, fun and tongue-in-cheek like Michael Dougherty’s recent ‘Krampus’ and even bordering on the downright ridiculous with efforts such as Michael Cooney’s 1997 horror-comedy ‘Jack Frost’, where a serial killer is genetically fused with a snowman! So how does director Ryan Nelson’s ‘Mercy Christmas’ fare in this varied hodgepodge of chilling Christmas concepts?
When Michael Briskett meets the perfect woman, his ideal Christmas dream comes true when she invites him to her family’s holiday celebration. Dreams shattered, Michael struggles to survive once he realizes HE will be Christmas dinner. The movie was an unexpected pleasure and it’s a well honed emotional rollercoaster of both humour and horror.
Actor Steven Hubbell is perfectly cast as the keen to please Michael who finally seems set to have his perfect Christmas but who just as quickly realises that this festive celebration will be one that he never soon forget. The tone of the film is quite unusual but it never strays from its unique style which helps keep the balance on the perfect level throughout. It’s an interesting and festive spin on the concept of imprisoning unsuspecting guests or visitors will the intention of eating them and it’s one that is handled expertly by the director and the cast alike.
The subtleties in the movie merged with a good helping of over-the-top dialogue helps it glide to its satisfying conclusion. It’s not all psychological shocks and comic relief shoehorned in to the setup arbitrarily. It’s well thought out, the chills are there, the gore is peppered in and the final result is pretty darn impressive.
There are plenty of things that makes ‘Mercy Christmas’ stand out from the competition and many aspects and neat little turns that make it all the more enjoyable. It switches from humour to horror in the blink of an eye so many times over that you do feel impressed with its slick direction and coupled with a majestic cast it’s good to see that Christmas horror’s like this can still excite audiences.
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