Christmas Cruelty! – Unearthed Films (Blu-ray)
Theatrical Release Date: Norway, 2013
Directors: Per-Ingvar Tomren, Magne Steinsvoll
Writers: Eline Aasheim, Janne Iren Holseter, Anita Nyhagen, Magne Steinsvoll, Per-Ingvar Tomren
Cast: Eline Aasheim, Tormod Lien, Magne Steinsvoll, Per-Ingvar Tomren, Raymond Talberg, Nina-Shanett Arntsen
Release Date: November 8th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 94 Minutes 34 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Norwegian
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95
"We follow a serial killer and his victims as they all prepare for Christmas in their own ways. This year it doesn't matter if you have been naughty or nice, Santa is coming to town no matter what, and he knows where you live." - synopsis provided by the distributor
Christmas Cruelty! comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 38.6 GB
Feature: 16.4 GB
Shot in 16:9 HD, the source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. The image looks crisp, the colors and flesh tones look correct, and the compression is very good.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Norwegian, and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio sounds clear and balanced. Range-wise, the audio sounds robust when it should.
Extras for this release include a photo gallery with music from the film playing in the background, a teaser trailer (39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), a short film titled Tradition (6 minutes 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), bloopers (8 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), press conference (23 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), an interview with Morten Haagensen (7 minutes 3 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), Endless Highway music video by The Last Rebels (4 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), three featurettes titled How Cruelty Changed Our Lives: Part 1 (2 hours 49 seconds 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English and Norwegian with removable English subtitles), Part 2 (19 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and Part 3 (9 minutes 3 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with with Per-Ingvar Tomren and Raymond Volle, and an audio commentary with titled Watch-along with Flesh Wound Horror.
There is a long history of yule-tide horror films. Most notably, films like Black Christmas (1974), Silent Night, Deadly Night, and Christmas Evil. Even in Norwegian cinema, there have been other Christmas horror films like Red Christmas. That brings us to Christmas Cruelty!, the latest Christmas themed horror film.
Though the killer wears a Santa Claus costume, the killer is best described as Krampus, an Alpine folklore figure who is the opposite of Santa Claus. Krampus scares the children who misbehave, while Santa Claus rewards the well-behaved children.
Setting the tone with a big opening sequence is something that the best horror films are known for. And though there is a brutal pre-credit sequence where the killer slaughters a family, starting with the youngest child, an infant. All momentum from this solid opening is wasted by what follows. After that pre-credit kill scene, it is almost another hour before the killer strikes again. Most of the first hour revolves around three friends hanging out and acting silly.
If you ignore the opening sequence and only judge the next 55 minutes on content, there is nothing about what happens during this long stretch that would lead anyone to think they were watching a horror film. Fortunately, in the last thirty-five minutes, there is a drastic tone shift that matches the intensity of the pre-credits sequence. Unfortunately, it is too little too late by then. with things further undermined by an underwhelming ending.
Christmas Cruelty! gets a solid release from Unearthed Films that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a wealth of extras.
Written by Michael Den Boer