30th Nov2018

‘Ugly Sweater Party’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Charles Chudabala, Hunter Johnson, Lara Jean Mummert, Felissa Rose, Sean Whalen, Kevin Caliber, Berna Roberts, Jennifer Nangle, Gregory Blair, Colton Wheeler, Jody Barton, Brad Potts | Written and Directed by Aaron Mento

UGLY-SWEATER-PARTY-POSTER

I think we can now say it is officially the festive season. So this means that I will try to watch as many Christmas movies as humanly possible throughout December (and the end of November). Ugly Sweater Party comes under the banner of Christmas horror comedy, so it hasn’t got a whole lot of competition.

I have previously enjoyed director Aaron Mento’s work. Starting with the unique and entertaining Standards of Living and then moving on to the very clever series idea of Choose Their Kill (look it up and enjoy), so when I discovered he was the director of Ugly Sweater Party my expectations were a little higher. And it has some similarities with the previous work of his I have seen but also is completely his own thing and very different. While his previous film and series had some form of comedy, this one goes all out for laughs. Stupid and kind of juvenile laughs, but laughs all the same.

So, is it actually funny? For the most part, yes, but it’s definitely not for everybody. This is silly, over the top B-movie comedy and as long as you know that’s what you’re getting, I’ll think you’ll enjoy.

The story itself fits this tone perfectly. In short, it’s ridiculous! But I mean that in a good way. I’ll try and explain – two friends head to what they think is going to be a crazy ugly sweater party, only to turn up to what is bible camp. One of these two friends is wearing a Christmas sweater he stole that is possessed by a serial killer. The sweater starts making him kill people and the ‘Christians’ at bible camp aren’t as innocent as you might think either! And that’s a simple outline. There’s ghosts, monsters, laser guns, visions and time shifts. It’s all as strange as it sounds.

The mix of practical effects and CGI actually works pretty well and are perfectly suiting the B-movie-style. I particularly enjoyed the final demon/monster but the laser gun was fun too. There’s also a surprisingly good use of heavy metal music. Usually it never suits a horror film and is used in the completely wrong way but when used with comedy it can work much better and here is a good example. That and it was actually pretty good music!

Performances are actually pretty good. Some are over the top and silly but that’s what they are going for, while the main three cast members – Charles Chudabala as Cliff, Lara Jean as Hanna and Hunter Johnson as Jody – are all enjoyable and actually likeable. It’s always good to see a horror icon in indie films and here Felissa Rose turns up and is as fun as ever.

Ugly Sweater Party is dumb horror fun. But sometimes that’s all you need. Director Aaron Mento once again proves that a low budget wont stop any awesome ideas he has. My biggest complaint here, is that there’s no snow and for some reason this isn’t called ‘Christmas Sweater Party’!

*** 3/5

Ugly Sweater Party is out now on Amazon Video

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