Werewolf Santa 2023’s title might be the best thing about this sometimes fun new Christmas-themed British horror comedy, says GEMMA JOHNSON
TITLE: Werewolf Santa
RELEASED: 2023 (Frightfest)
DIRECTOR: Airell Anthony Hayles
CAST: Mark Arnold, John Bloom, Emily Booth, Dave Darko
Review of Werewolf Santa 2023
I am a Halloween girl, there is no doubt. Being in the paranormal means that I have the luxury of being able to celebrate everything spooky all year round, but I do also merge this with other holidays throughout the year. Spooky Isles invited me to review Werewolf Santa which sounded like the perfect opportunity to combine the spooky with the festivities of Christmas.
Pitched as a comedy horror created by Airell Anthony Hayles, Santa is bitten by a werewolf and then embarks on a blood fest. Lucy, a failing YouTuber, along with her parents and friend find themselves with the task of stopping Santa in his tracks before he claims anymore victims.
The filming of Werewolf Santa is done through a point of view approach giving this a documentary vibe. Yes, the camera work was shaky, but this allowed us viewers to invest in the gritty reality nature that the film was trying to achieve.
Lucy, as I said is a failing YouTuber, and she is accompanied by her friend Dustin as they turn their monster finding focus to Lucy’s hometown of Hastings where there are rumours of werewolves. I did have difficulties accepting Lucy as an ‘angsty teenager’ because she appeared to be much older than that. She was less grumpy teenager and more fed-up adult grappling with paying bills, juggling family, and working in a job she hates.
Lucy’s parents Carol and Charlie are divorced and there is some element of tension in the house. I did feel that a bit more time could have been invested within this back story as this would have helped us buy into the character of Lucy a little more. She was short, snappy, and quite aggressive towards her Mum and this looked out of context to the viewer.
The filming and the plot were jumpy, we jumped from scene to scene with little explanation as to the connection between. We see Dustin and Lucy in the forest where they see Santa being bitten by a werewolf and then we quickly move to them breaking into the police station to find silver bullets. The werewolf situation in Hastings clearly had to be serious if local police were armed with silver bullets, this could have been explored more within the story.
Another example is Carol and Charlie having a touching moment – possibly reuniting, this was unclear – and then we are in a different scene completely. So much was the jump that we though the streaming had glitched and we had missed something.
But there were some funny moments within the storyline – stumbling upon a bunch of adults “enjoying” their cars for example where it then emerges that Carol is part of the group. The special effects were also rather humorous, the over exaggerated intestines and organs certainly gave us a chuckle. Realism is often the focus for special effects within horror films, this was the opposite.
One of the big ‘chase’ scenes was set within a haunted house ride at a fairground, again I am unsure why we arrived at this location as it seemed to jump significantly. I did enjoy this section because the flashing lights, jump scare props and dark corners added to the tension. It was well put together.
It was certainly unique viewing and upon reflection the film seems to fit in with the comedic horror genre akin with the likes of Sharknado but perhaps not quite the cult classic that Sharknado became. However, if you can get past the jumpy plotline and filming, as a low budget comedy horror it is somewhat entertaining. Watch with an open mind, it may be one to add to your Christmas film list.
Werewolf Santa is available on UK digital from 6 November.
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