22nd Dec2020

SohoHorror: ‘JuleBlod’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Stig Henrik Hoff, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen, Truls Svendsen | Written and Directed by Reinert Kill

If you’ve ever read any of my reviews around December, then you will probably know that I love Christmas movies. So when they mix perfectly together with the horror genre I am even happier.

That said, unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of Christmas horror released each year, and even less, GOOD Christmas horror. In recent years, Better Watch Out, Await Further Instructions, Hosts, Black Christmas, I Trapped The Devil and The Lodge have all been largely entertaining and of good quality. Norwegian movie Jule Blood (Christmas Blood) covers a Christmas murderer who has escaped jail and back on the loose for that special day.

When it focuses on the killer Santa Claus, Jule Blood is at its best. Not unlike many slasher movies, the deaths don’t come thick and fast until the final third and that’s when things really pick up. The death scenes throughout and in this last half an hour are no doubt the highlight. They are full of blood, buckets of it in fact, many are inventive and almost all are brutal. The brutality doesn’t really come from the gore, more from the impact of each hit from Santa. Whether it be a sudden or ominously slow hit with the ax (the use of the ‘wrong’ end is just as scary here), or the long choking of the victims, it’s all very very violent. The most memorable death coming with the use of that ax which helps swing its victim to the ceiling and back down again with full force. As far as death scenes go, Jule Blood is right up there with the very best slasher movies.

Another highlight is some of the cinematography. There’s a good use of snow, always key in a Christmas movie, although despite the abundance of gore not enough on the snow. Some of the death scenes are tremendously shot, really making the viewer feel like they are in the thick of things.

The score is pretty great to for these moments, as loud and brutal as the attacks. The same can’t be said for the annoying dance music that is used throughout when the characters are ‘partying’.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie can’t quite keep up. We see a police officer tracking and chasing Santa, and when the story focuses on that it becomes more like a Norwegian crime thriller but not a particularly good one. Mixing that style and a gory slasher is actually an interesting and original idea but the director doesn’t quite pull it off and plenty of clichés are used.

Like many low budget slashers, pretty much all of the characters are one dimensional and not people you want to cheer on into the final scenes of the movie. Even the killer just isn’t very interesting. He kills at Christmas dressed as Santa, that’s pretty much it.

But, those death scenes and how good they look drag Jule Blood to a pretty entertaining Christmas horror. Slasher and gore fans will get lots of enjoyment here and as with every slasher, there’s plenty of opportunity for sequels, which I’d be happy to see.

*** 3/5


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