Some holiday stories are full of laughter and cheer meanwhile others show the darker side of the season. Not everyone enjoys this time of year, sometimes it’s full of loss – loss of money, loss of family, loss of everything we hold dear. The true meaning of the holiday season is often buried with greediness and corruption yet we are bombarded with it every year and everywhere we go. (S)aint Nick (2016) shows a different side of Christmas and what happens when times get desperate and Santa is the only one who can fix it.
Directed and written by Jonathan Patrick Hughes comes a chillingly creepy Christmas story unlike other. (S)aint Nick was produced by Jason Baker and has awesome cast starring Leeana Hergenreder, John Seese, and Chaise Thompkins. With a modest budget, hey were able to create something unique and awesome in a just little over 27 minutes and will be released in a Christmas anthology series called The 12 Slays of Christmas.
The story follows two siblings, Billy (Thompkins) and Ashley (Hergenreder) who are dealing with the recent tragedy of losing their Mother in an accident and are left in the troubled hands of their drunken stepfather, Horace (Seese). He doesn’t care about them, pokes jokes at their Mother’s death, and is constantly making inappropriate comments to Ashley about wanting to hook up. Meanwhile, as Ashley reads her little brother a Christmas bedtime story, he only has one wish for Santa… to kill his stepfather. Will his wish come true?
Wow, I had been waiting to watch (S)aint Nick for awhile and I can honestly say that it did not disappoint and delivered on all expectations. It was the perfect Holiday-themed horror movie: a relatable storyline, a sadistic Santa Claus, talented acting, great cinematography, plenty of blood, and the ultimate watch for the upcoming season.
First, the opening credits set the tone for the whole film with it’s eerie Christmas music. This plays as Ashley is reading A Night Before Christmas to her little brother and you can see a decorated tree around the corner. It gives you a mixed emotion of feeling cheerful for the Holiday season yet worried about what’s going to happen because you know it’s only moments before something terrible will go down after hearing that hauntingly chilling music by Braden Bixler.
Second, the Santa Claus scene was pretty epic. The edits and shots were done by Kyle Rosania and Bec Johnson did the make-up, both were done remarkably well. I loved the build up and without revealing any spoilers, there was most definitely some poetic justice to it. Let’s just say Santa always tries to his best to make wishes come true. As long as you’re on the nice list. If you’re on the naughty list… you’re pretty much fucked.
Third, I have to mention the strong influences throughout (S)aint Nick. First, Director Jonathan Patrick Hughes has mentioned before that one his role models and influences for this film was Rob Zombie. I can feel that vibe throughout the whole thing. The look and feel of the deadbeat drunken step-father could totally be something straight out of Zombie film. Meanwhile, the little boy, Billy, is a strong reference to another character named Billy in the classic Santa slasher, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Ring any bells? I absolutely love when can see someone’s love/passion for something in their film.
Overall, (S)aint Nick (2016) proves that indie films are the ones that deliver true horror these days. With small budgets, fresh faces, original stories, and a hardworking cast… magic happens that we rarely see anymore in this industry. New horror often comes with fancy CGI, bloated budgets, and retold stories that only go so far. Not all independent horror films will be superb, but as far as this story goes the quality is fantastic in every aspect. Dear Santa, my only Christmas wish this year is to see (S)aint Nick become a full feature some day!