Dismembering Christmas (2015)


Instead of spending Christmas with their families, a group of friends decide to have one last hurrah together before going their separate ways after graduation. The group stays at a cabin owned by Mark’s (Baker Chase Powell) father. The cabin is everything they hoped it would be. And the woods surrounding it leaves it all open for winter fun. However, they soon learn of a brutal murder that happened at the cabin, and the killer may still be lurking nearby.

Following their award winning slasher Don’t Go to the Reunion, Slasher Studios returns with more bloody fun in their second full length film. In the slasher genre, there aren’t very many winter and Christmas horror films you think of. Slasher Studios gives us this special gift in hopes of adding to the short list of films. The group comes off a realistic and pretty likable. So when they begin to die, you feel a little disappointed to see some of them go. Admittedly, there are some characters that get more development than others, which is unfortunate since what we see of those characters makes you want to see them more. The fun moments the cast shares together appears as if they were told to just have fun and forget the camera was there. Along with the characters we have some fine performances, and some, while not horrible, weren’t up to par the others. Though there were some that stood out most to me that really owned their characters. First off, there is Nina Kova as our leading lady Sam. Kova portrays Sam with great ease and really sees her as a person and not the usual bad ass leading lady we get in a slasher. Not a bad thing. Sam is a girl who is vulnerable but is also a fighter when she needs to be, and Kova does this well with bringing Sam to life. Kova shares a lot of her screen time with our leading man Justin played by Johnathon Krautkramer and Justin’s sister Emma played by Leah Wiseman. Krautkramer is perfect as the shy and awkward guy trying to impress Sam. He’s the the kind of guy we can all relate to. Krautkramer also gets the more funnier moments of the film, and he can really deliver the comedy and express the goofiness of the character. Like Sam, Justin isn’t portrayed as a macho hero, he’s very much a real person who doesn’t try to act bigger than he is. I do wish there were more scenes between Sam and Justin, it felt like there was a lack of “ship” power for them. Leah Wiseman plays Justin’s wise-cracking sister. Of all the cast members, Krautkramer and Wiseman have the best chemistry and come off as real siblings, and it’s very entertaining watching them butt heads, but also a real sense of care between them. Wiseman plays Emma in a way that may come off as bitchy to some, but she does it all in fun, like her on-screen brother, Wiseman also knows how to bring on the comedy and heart to the role. Finally there is Marla Van Lanen as the friendly but unusual neighbor Joan. During her initial appearance it leaves viewers just as unsure what to think of her as the characters on the screen.  Van Lanen’s performance to me felt very much like Kathy Bates in Misery. She has the ability to be sweet one moment, but completely switch gears in a second. Whether this is a sign of something to come, you can’t tell, any of the characters could have a motive, and some are more red herrings than others. The rest of the cast sit well with their roles and know who they are, but these are the ones who did stand out most to me. The film also features some great camera shots, I admit that as I watched it, some of the filming techniques felt very reminiscent to the original Black Christmas. Whether or not this was intentional, it was excellent. Along with this they make excellent use of the setting by shooting much of the landscape as they can to really give us the feel of the cabin and the woods. The Christmas setting was also very much present during the film and really helps set the tone. Another filming aspect I admired probably the most was the montage of the group partying. It captured all it really needed to show their fun, and the editing and transitions was excellent. This was really the only instance, but it still stuck in my mind with wanting to see what happened between. Finally, we have the amazing kills. The on-screen kills we get worked really well especially a dismembering and decapitation by wire. And some were genuinely amusing. It helps that most of the kills were in a Christmas themed manner. All of this done by a very creepy looking killer in which dons one of the more creepier masks I’ve seen in modern horror. One final thing I wish was that the climax with the unmasked killer had gone on longer. 

While Dismembering Christmas has flaws (some forgivable, some not as much), it’s still a fun low-budget slasher that sets out to do what it was meant for. Give us a bloody Christmas/winter film. And it does that with a great setting, likable characters, a fine cast, and excellent kills. Director Austin Bosley, along with writers Kevin Sommerfield and Steve Goltz and crew know their slashers and know what to bring to the table that viewers want to see.



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