Deadly Little Christmas (2009): Yule Be Horrified!

When I sat down to check out Deadly Little Christmas (2009), I didn’t have high expectations in my mind. The cover itself was a mess of Photoshop design that most prominently featured the killer wearing a mask that looks like WWE wrestler Kane got mixed up in a road striping accident. Yet I know that I should never judge a movie by its cover, but rather by the underwhelming film contained inside the cover. I had originally bought the film for two reasons. First, it was a Holiday Horror that hadn’t even heard of before, and secondly, it starred Felissa Rose, best known as the child killer in Sleepaway Camp, who has become something of a fixture in low budget horror since her return to the screen in 2000. Sadly, neither reason panned out to be worth sitting through the eighty five minutes.

The Carpenter that inspired Deadly Little Christmas is much more of the 'John' type than the 'from Galilee' variety as the film borrows heavily Michael Myers' origin tale. On Christmas morning, when Dad goes off to have some “special” Christmas cheer with the housekeeper, young Devin (Shane Carther Thomas) takes exception to their merriment. After stabbing the adulterous pair to death, Devin walks right out of the house, on a sunny California Christmas morning, with the bloody knife still clenched in his fist. Cut to fifteen years later and Devin, now a grown up Samuel Nathan Hoffmire (What’s the deal with casting people with 3 names to play this kid? Is it more serial killery?), has been a long term resident at the funny farm. When Devin’s mother (Felissa Rose) comes to visit him, he remains unresponsive and silent, but this year for Christmas, he’s decided to come home.

As ominous and as stock as the final line of my synopsis sounds, by thirty minutes into Deadly Little Christmas, the film’s twist ending was being so clearly telegraphed that it became an old friend by the time the reveal actually happened. It surely doesn’t help that while the script is derivative and undercooked, the general quality of acting is so poor that it would be insult to injury to name names. However I do have to mention that Felissa Rose, who always commits to over emoting, really takes it to the next level. She shakes her head so much while talking that for a while the film did misdirected me into thinking the big reveal at the end would be Ms Rose turning out to be the world’s big largest bobblehead. Sadly, that did not come to pass.

Director Novin Shakiba was obviously working on a limited budget here, a sizeable portion of which I assume went to secure Ms. Rose, but there could have been money better spent. The highlights of the film, such as they were, were the murders. Though poorly acted, one poor fellow gets stabbed in his brain pan and doesn’t stop flopping around like a dead fish for almost thirty seconds, a few of were well executed enough to call entertaining. The general look of Deadly Little Christmas never rises above that of a home video production, and the score by composer/editor Jason Peri never brings suspense or the idea of the holidays into the story.

When it comes to Christmas horror, I can’t claim to have seen all of them, but I’ve seen a fair amount to be able to rank this one among its peers. What Deadly Little Christmas lacks in acting, directing and scripting, it more than matches with a dearth of in Yuletide spirit. There is no specific reason Christmas meant anything to the film except the fact that Devin’s dad couldn’t wait until after presents were opened to bang the maid. Once Devin escapes and the killer is on the loose, no one gets killed with sharpened Candy Canes or smothered with a Stocking or even crushed under the weight of holiday expenses. So as far as Christmas terror goes, this is strictly bottom of the barrel officially replacing Santa Claws as the worst scary seasonal tale that I have had the misfortune to watch. In fact I propose a re-titling of this film. I think the word Christmas should be dropped entirely as Deadly Little sounds more appropriate.

Bugg Rating

I couldn't find a trailer, but I did find a remix of the head stabbing scene that I found quite entertaining.


  1. The lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun (circa 1970)December 6, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Lightning Bug, what happened to your promised reveiw of "Santa Sangre"?, i was looking forward to reading that.

  2. Sounds like a futile attempt to bank on Christmas holiday rather than trying to find a clever way to incorporate it in the film.

  3. Oh, goodness. My review should be up tomorrow. How awful was this movie? Almost so bad it's good, except where was the xmas spirit? I still say it's better than Santa Claws, but at least that one had drugged hot cocoa.


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