Christmas Cruelty – 2013 – Norwegian horror is da shit!
If I were a horror filmmaker from Sweden and saw Norweigian Christmas Cruelty, I would be rather envious. I think we in Sweden at pretty good at police thrillers, that’s also pretty much all we do. At least when it comes to mainstream films. Because like in every other country there are always those who dare to challenge the (film)system and create something that is truly original. Christmas Cruelty is such a film. And it’s not the first time the Norwegians have created great horror flicks either. Cold Prey aka Fritt Vilt (which now has two sequels), Manhunt aka Rovdyr, and Dead Snow from 2009. Dead Snow also had a sequel that was better than the first movie in my opinion.
To get entertained to the fullest, you need to know that the original title for Christmas Cruelty is O’Hellige Jul. For a Swede, such as myself, this sounds a little bit silly and that is so far from the tone in Christmas Cruelty as you can come. The teaser is among the most unpleasant I have ever seen. The contrast between the comedy and the graphic violence makes it really unpleasant to watch. It’s kinda full at the same time as it’s uncomfortable. We initially get to follow this lust killer and he’s portrayed just like any ordinary person. He’s not eccentric in any way which would have been to underestimate the audience. Instead, he’s just an unusually emotional-free psychopath.
But this is not the only person we get to follow. A large part of the film is about another group of people. You could say that it’s the lesser fortunate individuals in society. The dialog is hilarious and I laughed both hard and long on several occasions. There is a common day philosophy to the whole situation that is very hard not to be amused by. An example is when they’re mixing mulled wine…let’s just say that the person that won’t get drunk from a zip of that doesn’t exist! And those humorous part is what makes the other parts so scary. There is no humor whatsoever in those parts which makes them even scarier. It’s just pure cruelty and violence.
I was very entertained and amused by Christmas Cruelty. The acting was surprisingly good and it’s only obvious a few times that the gore is faked using dummy parts. More or less pretty good altogether and you can’t accuse Christmas Cruelty of using CGI effect. That’s a relief. I much prefer traditional effects over computer-generated even if it looks faked a couple of times. To begin with, I was a little afraid that Christmas Cruelty was a very amateurish move made for fun. But I soon realized that this was not the case at all. It was very well made. Much better than most other low-budget stuff I’ve seen. There is fantastic music and the storytelling is amazing! Did I say that I love the movie?
This review was originally written in 2013 and in Swedish. This is a translation of that review. I was inspired to put up a translation av that I published a post on youtube where I mention this movie. Clip below: