Toronto After Dark Review: A Christmas Horror Story

The first Canadian feature of Toronto After Dark’s line up is “A Christmas Horror Story” which blends four plots that all happen on Christmas Eve in a small town.

It stars several well known names and faces, including George Buza as a very active Santa, Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope,Lost Girl, Republic of Doyle) as an upper class mother who’s family isn’t as perfect as she thought, Zoe Del Grand Masion (Orphan Black) as a high school reporter after a juicy story, Adrian Holmes (19-2) as a cop suffering from PTSD and his son who’s acting strangely, Julian Richings (everything) as a creepy groundskeeper, Rob Archer who is more known for having his face covered (Lost Girl’s Bruce, Defiance’s Bio-Man) as the Krampus, and overseeing all the activity: William Shatner as the radio host who is doing the Christmas Eve double shift, with a little help from ‘saucy’ eggnog.


While all the stories do have some linking elements, they are four types of horror: a creature horror, a ghost horror, a creepy child horror, and zombie elves.They are also share an undercurrent of possession. There is some creepiness, some jump scares, some gore, and some aspects of a thriller. Dare I say it’s like a holiday box of chocolates?

Switching between stories used many dark screens which did give a ‘going to commercial break’ feel at times, but as the film progressed edits faded one story cleanly into the next.  This isn’t surprising the directors for each segment have extensive television experience. The musical score of Christmas tunes does an amazing job of ramping up tension when it’s needed, and of providing an uneasy contrast to what’s happening on screen. I might never listen to that portion of Nutcracker Suite the same way again.

In order to complete the shoot quickly, each segment had its own team of writers, directors, and crew. Fun fact – they shot this around Toronto during the long cold winter of 2013, and were so thankful that the snow stuck around!

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