11th Jan2022

‘Stuffings’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Kathleen Halligan, Daniel Moody, Isabella Robinson, Ognjen Trisic, Marcello D’Onofrio, Georgia Williams, Adam Bullmore, Josh Talbot-Smith | Written and Directed by Mathew J. Wilkinson

Australia has a good history of horror movies. It’s a varied bunch of greatness to from The Babadook to The Loved Ones to Wolf Creek to Rogue to Lake Mungo. Recently a few comedy horrors have stood out too with the excellent Little Monsters and very funny movies like 100 Bloody Acres, so with a much loved Christmas setting, I was hoping Stuffings could be added to the great Australian comedy horror list.

The premise is a slightly modern take on a familiar horror story. A young social media celebrity couple ‘Andy and Bec’, camp out in the Adelaide Hills on Christmas Eve. With at least one of them wanting to briefly get away from the technology they are obsessed with. Unfortunately the accidentally discover a Christmas tradition at a local community that leads them struggling for their own lives.

It might sound like an original idea but it’s basically ‘outsiders get stuck in a local community that are trying to kill them’. That is very simplified but it does very much feel like you’ve seen it before.

As much as I would normally love the Christmas setting, Stuffings probably would have been better suited for a Halloween timeline (okay it would have to have completely changed the look of its villain). A yearly ritual where people are sacrificed feels much more Halloween-y. I would have probably ignored this if the filmmakers had gone all-out with all things Christmas but they don’t. I know this is set in Australia so I wasn’t expecting snow but there’s a distinct lack of Christmas trees, lights, decorations of any kind or seasonal joy. There are a few attempts at Christmas music but they don’t really work.

That said, the distorted, strange-looking Santa Claus killer was a hit for me. In the still image I have seen for the promotion of the movie, it looks kind of amateurish and I thought it worked much better in action. He looks solidly, slightly overweight built, moves like a killer and the weird hand-drawn face is creepy when in motion. Unfortunately there is definitely a lack of good death scenes – much needed in a low budget slasher – and only one scene involving a lot of fake guts of a car windhsield comes anywhere near the amount of bloodshed I would have liked to have seen.

It was no surprise to me that much of the cast are inexperienced actors but that doesn’t mean this isa dud when it comes to performances. Kathleen Halligan and Daniel Moody as Bec and Andy show good chemistry together and this is very much needed because they are on screen a lot together. You could easily believe they have their own YouTube show as seen in the movie. Unfortunately, as with the rest of the cast, when the acting needs to be more serious, it isn’t quite as consistent.

At less than eighty minutes, I would struggle not to recommend Stuffings to slasher fans, especially those used to watching low budget horror. It might not be the funniest or most blood-filled but it’s an easy watch that many horror fans will enjoy.

Stuffings is available on Google Play, Youtube Movies, Microsoft Store, Tubi TV and Prime Video now.

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