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The Christmas Tapes
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‘The Christmas Tapes’ review: Funny Christmas horror anthology

V/H/S: XMAS

Christmas horror is a genre I can’t get enough of this year. I don’t always get into the holiday spirit with Christmas movies – I don’t always get into the holiday spirit at all, really – but this year, I’ve rewatched all my favorite Christmas horror films and tv episodes, and I’ve been pleased to find that there are some new Christmas classics this year. 

The Christmas Tapes, a horror anthology starring Greg Sestero (The Room), may be among these new classics that I’ll rewatch every holiday season. Geoff’s (Sestero) car has broken down and his phone has died; he knocks on the door of an unsuspecting family who are about to settle in for their Christmas Eve tradition of watching a Christmas movie. Rachel (Ruby Setnik) has just opened her early Christmas gift of a video camera; this is perfect, because Geoff has walked into this family’s home with a box of videotapes! While it’s too convenient to be realistic, it does work really well as the wrap-around for this anthology. 

Found footage horror is another of my absolute favorite horror sub-genres. The V/H/S anthology series is probably the best known of found footage horror films, and The Christmas Tapes has certainly earned its comparison to the popular anthology. Each segment, including the wraparound, is found footage. By using “found footage” for each of the anthology segments, The Christmas Tapes makes the most of a very low budget. 

The first film that Geoff forces the family to watch – at gunpoint – is Travel Buggies, about a couple who goes camping for Christmas, filming content for their channel on travel and folklore. They make their way to the Donner pass, and because you already know that this is a horror movie, things are going to get really creepy. It’s a fun, quick escalation, and it works well as a horror short. 

The Christmas Tapes

Terror Films

The Christmas Gift is about a dad, Dean (Jason Kuykendall)  who’s hired a Santa Claus to help deliver himself – in a box – as a Christmas gift to his kids. His kids constantly watch YouTube, so he’s filming everything he does – so that they’ll pay attention to him. It’s a little sad! I won’t ruin anything about what happens to Dean, or what Santa and Mrs. Claus are really up to, but it’s great, and it gets a little gory. Vernon Wells is excellent as the creepy and malicious Santa Claus. 

The Glitchy Gamer is the shortest of the short films, and it brings a Black Mirror vibe to The Christmas Tapes. After this one, Geoff forces the family through an “intermission”. While this part of the anthology feels like nothing more than filler, it’s not bad. 

The Christmas Tapes

Terror Films

Paranormal Perry follows a couple who’ve moved into a new home on Christmas. Their moving truck broke down, and so they have none of their things for Christmas. The performances in this short are the most fun to watch of the film – Devin Valdez, who has no other acting credits to her name, is great as the pissed off and freaked out girlfriend in this short. After Devin sleepwalks and some weird things happen, they call Paranormal Perry (Dave Sheridan) to come investigate. His performance is pretty hilarious, and makes this short the best of the bunch. It does go on a bit longer than it needs to, but it’s still really a very entertaining watch, thanks to these hearty performances. 

Each of the shorts in The Christmas Tapes features characters who start off seeming pretty normal – like we might just get some wholesome Christmas content – but things escalate quickly. It’s great to see how things will go in each of these shorts and how far the horror will go. While I don’t think The Christmas Tapes is one of the many Christmas horror movies that I’ll be rewatching next year, it is certainly a welcome addition to the genre. If you’re into found footage and you like horror movies with a good sense of humor, definitely check this one out. 

The Christmas Tapes
‘The Christmas Tapes’ review: Funny Christmas horror anthology
The Christmas Tapes
‘The Christmas Tapes’, a found-footage horror anthology, will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys their horror with a little bit of gore and a lot of humor.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Performances from Dave Sheridan, Vernon Wells, and newcomers feel genuine and are fun to watch.
All of the shorts in the anthology are fun; none are skippable.
The ending is abrupt; it works, but it doesn’t leave a huge impact.
Some of the shorts feel longer than necessary.
6
Average

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