On the one hand, part of me wants to give a bit of credit to any independent horror movie that is set at Christmas and doesn't make use of the word "Krampus" in the title. I also generally want to give a bit of credit when I can to any independent horror. As much as I like a lot of the mainstream stuff, and I do, it's always great to see the variety on offer for horror fans. It saves us from being stuck with a hundred attempts to remake The Conjuring every year (although, yes, we also still get that happening). On the other hand, I still have to call out bad film-making when too many negatives outweigh the positives.
13 Slays Till Christmas, an anthology horror movie with plenty of blood-spattered Christmas decorations in each tale, is far from the worst film I have seen. It just feels exactly like what it is, a low-budget horror movie cramming together over a dozen different writers and directors. There's no cohesion, very little real inventiveness (almost every tale simply ends with someone being killed), and not enough attempts to hide the shortcomings of the meagre budget.
I'm not going to name the creative talent behind the camera here, nor am I going to name any of the individual cast members. That's not to be dismissive of their contributions to the film. It just means that I am not unwittingly being too mean to people who have given their time and energy to making something that didn't work for me.
Whether intentional or not, this feels quite lazily thrown together. I don't think that is actually the case, considering some of the fun little references to other horror movies woven throughout the script and the production design (although references shouldn't be used in place of material with a bit more substance), but the end result doesn't look great for anyone involved.
I cannot name one of the many underwhelming stories as a highlight, the special effects are pretty poor, and there isn't even a vein of enjoyable dark humour running through things to make it all more enjoyable. I am sure that some people will argue that last point, and humour is as subjective as many other elements we can love or hate in movies, but I didn't notice any appreciable "through line", even if one or two story endings were individually mirthful and macabre.
I was really hoping to enjoy this, especially as it seems to have been a bit of a lean time recently for Christmas horrors, but it wasn't to be. I didn't care about any of the characters, I barely got to know who some of the other characters were, and boredom started to set in early on, once I realised that many of the stories were working with very similar templates.
There are people who will undoubtedly love this, whether it is for the actual content or for the sake of supporting the creators, or both. More power to them. I sat through it once, and I'll never knowingly choose to sit through it again.
For those who may want to order this, or just check out Blood Moon Pictures, here is a link. Remember that my opinion is just that, MY opinion, and I certainly hope that some people still opt to check out the movie and decide whether to agree with me or not.
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