The Night Before Christmas

The Night before Christmas is the brain child of legendary movie director’s Wes Craven (Scream) and Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), it’s the first time the horrific duo have join forces to make a horror movie. The movie is set in an idealised wintery middle class suburb in America and stars Julie Stiles, Steve Carrell (in his first non comedic role) and John Malkovich.

The opening scene of the film will send a chill down your spine, it’s start with the main characters putting their kids to bed on Christmas Eve and making sure everything’s prepared for Christmas day, as this is happening the voice of John Malkovich is narrating a the famous Christmas poem, ‘Twas the night before Christmas’. As he is narrating the first two lines of the third verse (‘When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter’) the camera zooms out from the house into the garden and moves towards a figure all dressed in black and slowly moves up the body to reveal a black shiny face mask with a big white smile and red flashing lights for eyes which is topped off with a lovely red Santa hat, terrifying!

The mask somehow makes the scream mask and look like child’s face painting; no doubt this mask will become iconic on its own even if the film flops. The movie focuses on the main characters family home and the murderous crusade of the mask villain who takes on the roll of an evil Ebenezer Scrooge. The film is filled with gore and jump out of your seat scenes that will make the most hardened movie fan want to close their eyes. The most disturbing scene has to be Julie’s character being turned into a human Christmas tree as decorations are pierced through her skin as her husband and kids watch on helplessly. The big twist comes when the audience is shown that our main character’s home is not the only home being terrorised, the whole neighbourhood is being tortured by these killers. I won’t spoil the ending but I will that say that’s it the most shocking ending I’ve ever seen.

There are two things about this film that make it unforgettable and that’s the creepy mask and the direction from Wes and Tobe. The sheer level of gore, heart stopping moments, brilliant dialogue and truly shocking storyline show us how talented Wes and Tobe can be especially when together. The mask shows glimpses of the Scream mask but surpasses it in terms of creepiness and longevity, I believe this mask will remain creepy for years to come and has already been dubbed by some critics as the ‘Christmask’. The whole mood and general feel of the movie makes you feel like your watching a modern Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it makes you feel very anxious and uncomfortable the whole way through which is a sign of a great horror flick.

In my opinion this festive horror movie is the best horror movie of the year and could also be one of the greatest of all time. The fantastic storyline that will take your breath away and keep your mind guessing, the great cast, the superb directions, the gore and nerve shattering suspense will leave you feeling very brown and clammy and could even cause insomnia. I would recommend this film to anyone who loves Wes and Tobe’s work or just anyone who loves horror films, but even those he don’t should give it a try because it will entertain you more than any other film released this year.

By Stephen McAllister

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