Santa Isn’t Real Image

Santa Isn’t Real

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | December 19, 2023

NOW ON VOD! Writer/director Zac Locke’s solstice slasher Santa Isn’t Real hits you like a snow globe upside the head. On Christmas Eve, Nikki (Kaya Coleman) sits by the fireplace having a drink. Her boyfriend, Nathan (Trey Anderson), sends her a saucy text that she ignores. In her inebriated state, Nikki doesn’t notice the boots lowering down in the fireplace behind her. She is attacked by an intruder in a suit of red with a rubber Santa mask, a knife, and a snow globe. Nikki passes out in a pool of her blood while the boots head back up the chimney.

“…not a creature is stirring except the rubber-faced Santa looking to dismember those who don’t believe.”

Nikki later wakes up in a hospital, with her doctor (Dana Millican) explaining she’s been in a coma for a year. Her friend Jess (Scarlett Sperduto) visits her with Nathan, as they have been waiting for her to wake up. They all head out to a house in the woods owned by their friend MJ (Cissy Ly) for Christmas Eve. Everyone is sympathetic to Nikki’s plight, but no one believes her when she says the real Santa attacked her. A big winter storm rolls in and traps them there. All through the house, not a creature is stirring except the rubber-faced Santa looking to dismember those who don’t believe.

Locke’s sophomore feature is a decent holiday horror effort, though there could be more marshmallows in this hot cocoa. The cinematography by Sean Conley gives Santa Isn’t Real a superior look with some killer shot compositions. The filmmaker also puts a lot of work into fleshing out the characters with relatable idiosyncrasies so that we have some emotional investment in them while they are hunted. This allows some good acting opportunities for the performers, all of whom come across as real people instead of just inflatable targets.

Santa Isn't Real (2023)

Directed and Written: Zac Locke

Starring: Kaya Coleman, Scarlett Sperduto, Trey Anderson, Cissy Ly, Dana Millican, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Santa Isn't Real Image

"…deserves a spot under your horror holiday tree."

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