Dismembering Christmas

Thank God your brother’s trashy Christmas wedding is even more in the middle of nowhere than our friend’s winter getaway!

Year Released : 2015download
Director : Austin Bosley
Cast : Leath Wiseman, Baker Chase, Nina Kova, Austin Bosley, Scott Seagrenm, Johnathon Krautkramer and Marla Van Lanen

There is something decidedly odd about watching a Christmas movie in October, but for some reason I am watching and reviewing my second (the other being Christmas Horror Story) within the first half of the month and there is something unsettling about that.

That being said, Christmas films tend to be pretty decent (famous last words), although I will caveat that by saying that this isn’t necessarily a given and this is based purely on the Christmas films that I have seen.

I’m not sure whether to be optimistic with this film at all as it does look quite terrible from the trailer and looks like something that even the Horror Channel and SyFy would avoid, that despite an average rating of 5.9/10 on IMDB from 55 users, not an awful score at all.

Plot

A group of friends make their way to a cabin for Christmas in order to celebrate the holiday season and also a wedding. Although everything seems fine at first, they soon greet the odd locals, the mysterious Frank (Seagren) and Joan (Van Lanen), both strongly hint about previous incidents at the cabin, although neither gives too much away.

Following on from a game of strip-poker, everyone goes to bed, although Travis (Bosley) is soon awoken by a mysterious noise outside and he emerges to see a figure bent down. He approaches the mysterious figure before suddenly being eviscerated by what appears to be a sharpened hockey stick.

The rest of the group barely notices that he is gone and decides to keep up the celebrations anyway. Mark (Powell) and Claire (Lenius) decide to build a snowman and go sledding, but whilst Mark gets decapitated by a wire, Claire is stabbed by a pole and then a sharp stick from a snowman.

As time goes on more members of the group disappear and it isn’t long before they realise what is happening, but by then it might be too late.

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As good as Christmas Horror Story?

Christmas Horror Story was a great film. It had four carefully written and acted stories in one, there were many horror elements and best of all, it was unique, Dismembering Christmas isn’t like that in any sense.

There is something odd about Dismembering Christmas that I can’t quite put my finger on. In many ways it feels like the director, who decides to not only tarnish his name with directing but also starring in this film, is forcing the others to take part under threat of being shot. If you’re a director and you decide to plant your flag (so to speak) so much that you also star in your film, it had better be good (such as the Xavier Dolan films I’ve reviewed in the past), but it’s safe to say that Bosley won’t be asked to be involved in a mainstream film anytime soon.

All of the characters talk in a really monotone fashion throughout and there are several arguments within the first ten minutes, none of which are delivered in anything other than what could be described as lifeless. This could be because of many reasons, but I suspect that the main reason is because they just don’t believe in the script that they have been given.

If I wanted to act for a living then I would want to make any role that I did memorable, but you can just tell that the actors and actresses aren’t enjoying what they are doing. Every single line is delivered in lifeless fashion, and the only person who seems to be having any fun is Austin Bosley, the guy who happens to be the director…..but he definitely doesn’t do a good job acting either, as mentioned a few paragraphs above.

Dismembering-Christmas-Dead-End

Acoustically the film is very strange and there are times in which the music is louder than the characters that are speaking, and even worse is that it doesn’t fit the tone of the scene. For example, when Joan introduces herself to the main characters, a loud ensemble of piano music starts playing, and it just gets louder and gradually getting more in appropriate for the scene. Granted, it stops you being able to hear Marla Van Lanen’s horrible delivery of her lines, so it’s not all bad.

Away from the acting and the acoustics, the film just takes too long to get going. With just a 71 minute run time, it’s an odd choice to not really stop the first act until 30 minutes has gone by, close on exactly half way through the film. Whilst half an hour might not sound like it’s too bad to finish a first act, you’re leaving yourself just 40 minutes to finish the rest of your story and this causes it’s own problems.

Once the killer does finally emerge, deaths start coming thick and fast and in this case it isn’t a good thing. None of the deaths feel natural or well thought out, and most can be seen coming a mile off. Some of them also force you to suspend your beliefs about the natural laws of physics and probability. For example, one of the characters is killed when the killer successfully throws a wreath over there head from distance and as they are running away. It was almost an impossible shot.

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Summary

A poorly acted “horror” film with odd placement of music that doesn’t have a single redeeming feature other than it’s mercifully short run time.

That can’t save this from being viewed as a ridiculous bad horror film and it’s not as if it’s an enjoyable level of awful, unlike some other films that I’ve reviewed on this site previously. It’s just bad on every single level.

Just avoid!

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