The Nights Before Christmas (FrightFest 2020) review – a fun Christmas slasher

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 25, 2020 (Last updated: January 3, 2024)


The Nights Before Christmas is an entertaining Christmas slasher that is filled with blood and gore.

The Nights Before Christmas is directed by Dystopia director Paul Tanter, starring Age of the Living Dead’s Simon Phillips, Watchmen’s Sayla de Goede, and Kate Schroder, and this is a Christmas horror movie sequel to Once Upon a Time at Christmas.

The Nights Before Christmas follows two mental patients who believe they are Santa Claus (Phillips) and Mrs. Claus (Goede) and who, during their escape, butchered everyone they could find. Now they are searching for Courtney (Chambers) who has been in witness protection since their escape. When the Claus’s start killing people, including Courtney’s stepfather, the FBI arrives on the scene to try and stop the couple from completing their naughty list, with Agent Natalie Parker (Schroder) leading the investigation.

The Nights Before Christmas is a sequel that brings the killers back for the latest naughty list, playing into the FBI investigation hunting them down, which is a little less fun than the slasher side of the story. The idea that Courtney, once a target, must figure out a way to stop the killers, does seem to slip to the back of the story at times because of the FBI hunt. As we said, this doesn’t put the Fibs in a very good light with just how disposable most of them are, especially since they should be the smartest people in the room. Certain connections in the story would require you to watch the original or things don’t completely add up either.

You could sit and watch the crazy psychotic Santa Simon Phillips gives us all day; he fills the screen with so much uncertainty about what he will do next it is a joy to watch. Sayla de Goede does give us a Christmas Harley Quinn performance, showing the sidekick’s determination to impress with her character’s actions. Kate Schroder does give us the strong FBI agent figure but doesn’t get that action scene the character deserves, while the rest of the cast don’t make as much impact as the two main leads.

The Nights Before Christmas uses the Christmas horror sub-genre to create the mental state of the villainous pair, while never using the Christmas-themed weapons to add to their kills, which is disappointing; we could have had plenty of puns or at least some form of Christmas kills to add something to the sub-genre.

Overall The Nights Before Christmas is an entertaining slasher sequel, it can be added to the fun Christmas horror oeuvre to watch with the collection that we already have, while getting enjoyment out of the performances from Simon Phillips and Sayla de Goede.

This review was filed from FrightFest 2020. You can check out all of our coverage from the festival by clicking these words.

Movie Reviews