I Slay On Christmas Image

I Slay On Christmas

By Derick McDuff | December 27, 2023

The framing story of the horror anthology film I Slay on Christmas features a man named Phil trapped in the forest being shown four chilling tales against his will. All Phil wants to do is escape from the torture of hearing one awful tale after another. In that way, I deeply related to Phil, as all I wanted to do while watching this film was to get far, far away from it.

When looking at a true indie film, it’s important to note that access to top-of-the-line cameras, lighting equipment, and many other things big-budget studio films take for granted aren’t often available. Considerations for acting, cinematography, and writing also need to be made, and state-of-the-art special effects and makeup are anything but a given. Still, a little love and effort can make a lot of difference for filmmakers with a micro-budget. Even a poorly made movie can still have charm and warmth to it. That is not the case with I Slay on Christmas. I’m truly sorry to report that this is a deeply ugly and misogynistic film.

Let’s address the technical issues first. Put simply, the film looks bad. Shot selection is uninspired, flat, and boring. Much of the lighting is washed out, particularly in the first section, and the cheesy after-effects put onto the framing story are abysmal. The actors struggle often, but they can hardly be blamed as it seems there wasn’t much of a script to work with. Lines are often repeated or directly contradicted by the same person in the following shot in an improvised set of ramblings. That is when you can actually hear the lines being spoken. Sometimes, they are inaudible, distorted, or incredibly quiet. Don’t turn up your TV, though, because, at other times, characters are deafeningly loud. The lack of attention to detail makes Ed Wood look like David Fincher.

“…a man named Phil trapped in the forest being shown four chilling tales against his will.”

None of that is really what makes I Slay on Christmas truly terrible. This is a hateful piece of work, one that relishes repeated acts of violence against women and gratuitous nudity. I’m no prude; I love a good slasher, so I’m all for some violence and sex on screen. However, when you are using an attempted rape, followed by a murder, as an excuse to have a topless actor in your film, you’ve made a mistake. The film is content to double down on that mistake in the next vignette when that order is grotesquely switched, with a man brutally choking his girlfriend to death and then having his way with her deceased body.

The third part of the anthology features another attempted murder of a woman (in this one, the woman murders her would-be killer first, and honestly, good for her), and the fourth swaps murdered women for some light “slut-shaming.” However, a surprise fifth chapter brings the trend back by showing the protagonist of the frame story’s flashback. Predictably, he murdered his wife for being a “nag.”

Regrettably, it should also be noted how insensitively and obtusely the movie treats a character meant to be a deaf child. That character (who is never seen in frame) is handled in such a demeaning way that it frankly makes my blood boil. A clear gown man makes high-pitched grunting noises, allegedly spitting on people, all the while being physically and mentally abused. His mother, who chastises the boy’s abusive father for not learning how to sign, also doesn’t sign, instead she shouts at the child in “kinder” way.

Like everything else in I Slay on Christmas, it’s mean-spirited and lazy filmmaking. If you’re looking for something to subvert the tired Christmas tropes of holiday cheer, throw on Violent Night or Bob Clark’s classic Black Christmas. Even Fatman is more worth your time and money. This one, however, is nothing more than a lump of coal.

I Slay On Christmas (2024)

Directed and Written: Derek Braasch, Marcelo Fabani, Phil Herman, James Panett, Joel D. Wynkoop

Starring: Joel D. Wynkoop, Deborah Dutch, Phil Herman, A.J. Laird, Debbie D, etc.

Movie score: 1/10

I Slay On Christmas Image

"…makes Ed Wood look like David Fincher."

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