It’s the night before Christmas, and Joan (Carolyn Slesinski) is awakened by noise coming from the livingroom. Scared for her safety, and the safety of her family, Joan wakes and convinces her husband Charles (Tom Pavey) to investigate the noise, armed with his trusty shotgun. Charles reluctantly wanders off with the gun, eventually shooting the intruder in his house… who just so happens to be Santa Claus. With the children still asleep, and time running out before morning, Joan and Charles must decide what to do about their accidental homicide.
I know I’ve seen the basic premise behind The Night Before Christmas in other forms; there may even be a Family Guy episode that treads similar ground. That said, this is still a fun, dark-ish comedy piece that is more my speed of holiday fare than most Christmas classics that exist. It’s also not-so-surprisingly predictable.
Honestly, if upon hearing the premise you had thoughts about where the short could go, it probably matches up with what happens (unless you’re a real sick bastard, in which case it probably doesn’t go far enough for your depraved tastes); maybe the exact details are a little different (did you guess the family’s last name was Heston?). Then again, there’s really only so many humorous directions you can take something like this, so that might have something to do with the familiarity of the tale.
And yet, for a film that involves the accidental murder of Santa Claus, it’s actually a light-hearted affair. The family is a little morally damaged and maybe a wee bit despicable in their thoughts and actions after the accident takes place (wait until you meet the Me First son (Joseph Solinski) and the profanity-spewing teenage daughter (Ashley Trawinski)), but they’re also endearing in that weirdo dysfunctional type of way.
I don’t know that I’d work The Night Before Christmas into an annual holiday film rotation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun watch that delivers more than a few chuckles here and there. Again, more than a little predictable, and sometimes the acting gets too rough for its own good, but overall not a bad dark comedy holiday short.
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