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Paul Tanter
Simon Phillips, Sayla de Goede, Jeff Ellenberger
Writing Credits:
Christopher Jolley

Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus: he's a one-eyed lunatic, she's a curvy, bat-swinging blonde.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 12/12/2017

• Previews and Trailer


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Once Upon a Time At Christmas (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 4, 2017)

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that 2017 seems to boast more violent/dark-themed holiday movies than usual. Into that category falls Once Upon a Time At Christmas, a bloody horror tale.

Set in small town upstate New York, the community of Woodridge suffers from a shocking outburst of mayhem. In particular, murders escalate to an unheard of level in the sleepy burg.

The culprits create even more outrage, as maniacs outfitted as Santa (Simon Phillips) and Mrs. Claus (Sayla de Goede) commit the crimes. This leads local law enforcement to battle the murderers.

Once you get past the gimmick of killers dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, does Time offer anything creative? Nope – not even vaguely so, as this becomes total “by the numbers” filmmaking.

That leaves us with a trite, predictable tale that follows all the expected paths. We get characters straight out of Horror 101 and nothing original or inventive along the way.

Time wears various influences on its sleeve. The cops feel straight out of Jaws - along with a mayor who denies the threat - while our lead psychopaths bear an unmistakable resemblance to Joker and Harley Quinn.

Even with more creative narrative/character choices, Time would flop due to its relentlessly amateurish nature. The actors vary from passable to embarrassing, and the filmmaking itself feels shoddy.

Camera choices often make little sense, and the editing turns a fairly simple story into a mess. Events pop up without much coherence or logic, elements that rob the film of whatever minor potential it boasts.

Time exists as a gimmick movie without anything notable behind it. The flick presents a tedious horror thriller without a shred of inventiveness or excitement to be found.

The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus D-

Once Upon a Time At Christmas appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture never excelled, but it was adequate for SD-DVD.

Sharpness was usually acceptable. Wider shots tended to be a bit soft, but those instances weren’t extreme, and much of the flick offered decent clarity.

Shimmering and jaggies were minor and edge haloes seemed non-problematic. Print flaws were non-existent, as I detected no specks, marks or other blemishes.

The film’s palette usually opted for a mild teal and orange tint. Within that design range, the colors seemed passable, so they weren’t especially strong, but they were okay.

Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, but shadows showed reasonable smoothness. Nothing here did much to impress, but this was a decent presentation.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. Even when the material broadened, it stayed restrained and effects could seem borderline monaural. This became an exceptionally restricted track for 5.1.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity.

Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a lackluster mix.

The disc opens with ads for The Crucifixion, The Show, Open Water 3, Inconceivable and Escape Room. We also get the trailer for Time but no other extras.

Once Upon a Time At Christmas offers one of the more amateurish films I’ve seen recently. Add to that a slew of genre clichés and it becomes a chore to watch. The DVD offers mediocre picture and audio with no supplements. Skip this pointless stinker.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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