A homeless war veteran with a checkered past must rely on a suppressed side of himself when he and his companions are targeted on Christmas Day by three vicious psychopaths in Santa suits.
Director: Stuart W. Bedford; Writers: Stuart W. Bedford, Giovanni Gentile; Stars: Colin Murtagh, Alexander Mounsey, Stu Jopia
The long awaited ultra low budget UK Christmas offering has finally arrived! We've been hearing about this one since last Christmas, back when it was first supposed to come out. They decided to hold it back due to the overwhelming popularity of Krampus. After all, the budget and subject couldn't dare to compete and one of the best ways to get your holiday movie seen is to be the only holiday movie available. Therefore Good Tidings is the only holiday horror for this giving season right on the 25th. Let's just say that for a ultra low indy it truly satisfies our penchant for murdering Santa's. Rather, Santa's that murder.
It goes like this... We open on a trio of crazy wrapped face guys taking out a hung over Santa and discovering Santa suites in the boot of his car. From there we meet our troubled vet whose talking to another homeless man about the shelter they've made use of. From here the characters develope between touching scenes and killer Santa craziness. Even our Santas get developed (the credits give them stooges names) with the skinny simpleton like candy cane sucker dominating screen time and a big monster Santa to rule them all. The candy cane obviously comes into play later (how many of us have imagined what we could do with a perfectly sharpened candy cane). He also loves to mumble Christmas tunes and gets a little soft. Meanwhile the other Santas enjoy their games of cat and mouse with the rest of the homeless. I always find it interesting that in slasher films the killer always wipes out the easy prey first, saving the stronger for last as if they like the challenge. Our Santas in Good Tidings definitely like their sport.
Good Tidings has very little blood and gore but it is there, just enough to let you know its real. Some kills happen off screen and I have a feeling that is due to budget constraints and the inability to realize the kill. Artful filmography and character development makes the lack of onscreen violence reasonable. The use of Christmas music for clever ambiance is well done. The Santa's only speak once, when the big guy growls at a woman to scream. The rest of the time they are like gorillas in Santa masks.
There's a lot about the film that seems like a bad idea. The tortured vet with a shady past story-line is overdone, to be honest, so is the caricature of the druggy whore looking to make good. But they are stereotypes we know and love. We all want to see the down and out rise above. Especially since Good Tidings is a horror film that celebrates a holiday that reinforces change for the better. It's also strange the serial killing Santa's would choose a homeless shelter of all places to attack. But then, these Santa's weren't at all concerned with who they were killing, just that they had fun doing it. The one spoiler I will give involves a possible bomb, which seems out of place given the other kills. I feel like this film is making a political statement about the treatment of the homeless. The character development lends me to continue that belief. Though I don't feel the film needed it, every horror film has a statement to make. Thankfully Good tidings is full of every expected trope, including some clever kills, and does not disappoint.