Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery review – Christmas comedy gold

December 15, 2022
Adam Lock 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service
4

Summary

The unique murder-mystery show returns for a Christmas Special, with guest stars Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph diving headfirst into the bedlam. This is a hilarious and downright entertaining lark to enjoy this holiday season.

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4

Summary

The unique murder-mystery show returns for a Christmas Special, with guest stars Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph diving headfirst into the bedlam. This is a hilarious and downright entertaining lark to enjoy this holiday season.


We review the Netflix film special Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery, which does not contain spoilers.

Don’t tell the kids, but Santa Claus has been murdered, or at least a vaguely familiar-looking celebrity dressed up in a Santa costume has been shivved to death with the sharpened end of a candy cane weapon, in this Christmas Special. Yes, that’s the premise behind this new, one-off installment of the terribly underrated comedy caper Murderville. Viewers are treated to another helping of the improv murder mystery series, as unsuspecting guest stars are thrown into a murder case without a script or a clue of what the hell is actually going on. This time around, it’s Jason Bateman (Ozark) and Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) on the case, but there are some more surprise appearances to look out for along the way.

If you are unfamiliar with the format, Murderville (based on Murder in Successville), works as your typical detective murder-mystery narrative, but with major improvised elements that provide ample comedy moments. Senior homicide detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett) leads each new case, with his guest actors tagging along for the ride as trainee detectives. The cast and crew all have access to the script, but the guest stars are completely in the dark, left to improvise and ad-lib the best they can. Arnett and the team try to embarrass their guest stars, pushing them to the limits of their training and common decency. It’s a hilarious concept that works an absolute treat in this Christmas Special.

Terry Seattle settles down for a quiet Christmas alone, with pizza and Die Hard, but his ex-wife/boss Rhonda calls him up. The Mayor needs security for a holiday party down at City Hall. Scrooge-like Terry is handed an assistant to help with the assignment, enter Jason Bateman. The actor looks in an utter daze as he walks onto the set, unsure of what is to come. But he quickly jumps into the role, game to do and try anything thrown his way. Dressed as a helper elf Jason and Detective Seattle meet Santa at the party. Although only moments later, the Santa impersonator is killed and the duo is tasked with solving the investigation before dawn, else the orphans won’t get their presents and Christmas will be officially ruined.

As per the format, Terry and his guests interrogate suspects and gather evidence, before making their verdict. The suspects give clues and misinformation, which the actors must interpret the best they can. There are many hilarious setups throughout this hour-long special and there is so much fun to be had. This is a side-splitting comedy that is milked for all it’s worth.

Will Arnett is pure gold as the sassy, grouchy detective. He pressures the actors into trying out different accents and character types, always pushing for the utmost humor. This of course leads to the actors breaking character, which is probably the best part of the show. It’s great to see these professional actors being humiliated, in fits of laughter themselves, or actually owning their directions with surprising ease. Bateman and Rudolph are seasoned pros and it shows, they take on every direction and setup with an eager, carefree attitude, happy to embarrass themselves at any given moment. The series works like the ultimate improv class, an actor’s escape room programmed to the extreme. And you can see that everyone involved is having a whale of a time, which reciprocates in the viewer’s overall enjoyment too.

This refreshing and innovative special will have you giggling hysterically as the actors fumble through each scene, trying to remain professional, whilst delivering jokes of their own. It’s a hilarious hour of TV, but the show has another ace up its sleeve. This is also a murder-mystery narrative and half of the fun is trying to solve the case yourself. There are enough clues and enough distractions to make it a tricky whodunit game. It’s very rewarding and there is a simple joy in trying to solve the case in real-time, alongside the actors. Comedy gold and an entertaining whodunit, all wrapped up in a festive bow, what more could you want this Christmas?

What did you think of the Netflix film special Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery? Comment below.

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