Christmas Horror movies often mixed into the slasher genre, and fit nicely into the low budget, especially for victims deserving of coal during the yuletide season. Assisted by an Indiegogo campaign directed and writer Mike McMurran got his Christmas wish with his debut flick Secret Santa and all of Santa’s mischievous charm of ghoulish and gory distributed by Wild Eye Releasing. While many holiday shoppers seek to escape the horrors of crowds and lines, the fans of the genre desire more scares and thrills, McMurran’s flick filled with cliché moments and yet still contain a fair amount of violence.
An obvious 1980s inspired slasher subgenre and mixed over a Christmas theme, as a group of college students gather together for a party to celebrate the holiday season, thrown by Olivia (Nicole Kawalez) and housemate Carissa (Keegan Chambers). Olivia organizes the fun exchange of presents and plenty of fun including introducing her friends to her boyfriend Professor Ramsey (Tony Nashed); however, someone else has sick thoughts about how to make this a jolly season. Meanwhile, Olivia’s best friend Nicole (Annette Wozniak) decides this party is the right time to tell her boyfriend Bryan (Brent Baird) she’s secretly using a webcam for strangers’ merry good time. Lastly, a typical wacky character Dwayne (Geoff Almond) rounds out a good group of friends, although with regard to Ramsey he seems too young for a history professorship. Secret Santa adds in a few comedic moments and gives a fine homage to Black Christmas (1974). During a weird present exchange of strange devices such as a power tool, the audience later learns of their intended usage, but clearly foreshadows upcoming scenes, a slight letdown for the rest of the film. The standard in a horror film like this is the group begins to split up although a problematic issue occurs herein, the location doesn’t work, limited by the rooms and no one ever hears anyone screaming for mercy. After all of the killing involves gouging eyes, stabbed tummies, a head bash, and garden sheers trimming a man’s organ, though a disconnect to the character’s actions no sheer eye terror or screaming. A lot of gore-obsessed action occurs in the second and third act; therefore, the gore-hounds will find some glee in the Christmas present.
Although the setting represents present day, the filming style mirrors some of what the 80s showed with SOV film making done with the proper equipment and framing of the shots. The audio sounds clear, and the special effects reflect the practical blood effects, yet some the pacing a tad off, mostly due to the rawness of the crew. One fun aspect comes from the score by Andre Becker, a synth style reminiscent of the music of yesteryear, he also given a cameo role and serves as a producer of the film.
Obviously, a movie made by horror fans for horror fans, but lacks proper scares or even a true festive atmosphere, easily telegraphing the scenes to audience. It provides the baseline for entertainment with your friends and campy good old holiday fun of ughs.
IMDb Rating: 6/10
Baron’s Rating: 5/10