- 1h 40min
A mysterious shopkeeper narrates four horror tales, each set during a different holiday.A mysterious shopkeeper narrates four horror tales, each set during a different holiday.A mysterious shopkeeper narrates four horror tales, each set during a different holiday.
Combs plays the proprietor of a curiosity shop, who tries to help last-minute customer Amelia (Meaghan Karimi-Naser) to choose a gift for her sister. As Amelia deliberates over several potential gifts, the shopkeeper tells her the story behind each of them.
In the first story, a mysterious killer wearing a doll-mask murders a group of youngsters partying in an abandoned house. It's a really uninspired way to kick things off, with very little to offer beyond its trite premise, but fortunately things get better with the next tale...
A young Jewish boy, Kevin (Forrest Campbell), is given an old, one-of-a-kind rabbi doll by his parents, who leave their son in the care of babysitter Lisa (Amber Stonebraker) while they spend the weekend in Germany. Not long after his parents have gone, Kevin overhears Lisa talking to her boyfriend Trey on the phone: the pair are planning to empty Kevin's home of its valuables. When Lisa catches Kevin listening, she locks him in his room, but Kevin's doll comes to the rescue when the boy reads from an old scroll hidden in the toy's box. Springing to life, the creepy wooden rabbi ensures that Lisa and Trey get their just desserts. A murderous living doll might not be all that original, but this is a well-handled story with a decent pace and a smattering of gore.
Talking of gore, there's more in the third story, which centres around a blood-stained Santa suit. Owner of the initially pristine costume is down-trodden pharmaceutical company office-worker Chris (Joel Murray), who is overlooked for promotion and then sees his wife Susan (Ailsa Marshall) cheating on him at the Christmas office party with his work rival Tom (Jeff Bryan Davis). Hitting the bottle at a nearby bar, and hoovering up some of his company's experimental tablets, Chris turns homicidal, visiting a local hardware store before returning to the party. Gratuitous nudity, drug-taking, and a nail-gun to the crotch: sophisticated it isn't, but it sure is fun.
The final tale sees a young woman, Anna (the lovely McKenna Ralston), renting a room at a farmhouse, and finding work in the nearby town, only to discover that the locals are murderous moon worshippers. It's a fairly blood-free story, but benefits from an eerie atmosphere and solid performances, and ends in a shocking manner that successfully segues back into the wraparound story, where Combs' shopkeeper turns out to be far less amiable than he seems.
With such an uneven movie, rating it as a whole isn't easy. I'd give the doll-face story 2/10, the rabbi doll 6/10, the killer Santa 6/10, the moon worshippers 5/10, and the book-ends 4/10. That's a total of 23, averaging out at 4.6/10, which I'll round up to 5 for naming Chris's tablets Black Sunshine, which I assume is a reference to Jeff Lieberman's Blue Sunshine (1977).
- Dec 15, 2020