‘It won’t be a silent night’
Nutcracker Massacre is a 2022 American-British horror film about a human-size nutcracker doll that comes to life and goes on a killing spree.
Directed and co-produced by Rebecca Matthews (Reign of Chaos; The Gardener; Pet Graveyard) from a screenplay written by Joe Knetter (Desert Moon; Pretty Boy; Blind) based on a story by Jeff Miller. Also produced by Scott Jeffrey. Executive produced by Mark L. Lester and Jeff Miller.
The Millman Productions-Proportion Productions-Titan Global Entertainment co-production stars Patrick Bergin, Beatrice Fletcher, Julie Stevens, Andy Dixon, May Kelly, Chrissie Wunna, Kelly Rian Sanson, Stephen Staley, Heaven-Leigh Spence, Tony Goodall, Elspeth Foster and Lucas Paternott.
Clara (Beatrice Fletcher), a struggling, young romance novelist, receives an invitation from her beloved aunt to spend the Christmas holidays with her. When she arrives at the secluded countryside cottage, sees that her aunt has a life-sized nutcracker doll by the Christmas tree.
Something about the doll unnerves her. That night, at the stroke of midnight, the star on the Christmas tree glows, as do the eyes of the life-size nutcracker. It comes to life and kills a delivery man who has come to the house – and its reign of havoc has only just started…
“Nutcracker Massacre is the perfect Christmas treat – for horror fans who like their films bloody and frightening. Packed with scares, gory kills – including one wince-inducing scene that’ll put you off midnight snacking for life – and enough laughs to keep you from spending the whole time hiding behind the sofa, the film also introduces a new genre monster to audiences – the Nutcracker, a seven-foot murderous wooden Prussian soldier, that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your Christmas tree. Traditionally, soldier-shaped nutcrackers are supposed to ward evil spirits away from your home, not invite them in!”
Despite being initially set in the US (there are brief shots of an American city) and with American backers, Nutcracker Massacre is clearly British-based and another super cheap effort from Rebecca Matthews and Scott Jeffrey. Hence, as is their norm, it’s slow and dull.
With such assembly line productions, there is an emphasis on failed relationships simply to fill up the running time with some dull drama and there’s no exception with Nutcracker Massacre. Why the filmmakers consider a lack of horror acceptable is baffling. They – and the film’s distributors – sell the film on the title and poster alone. Yet, deliver nothing much in the way of horror content. As expected, the token name star, Patrick Bergin, adds little to the movie in a throwaway role.
The Killing Tree, from the same producers, is mildly amusing and even the crappy Curse of Humpty Dumpty is a daft diversion so maybe give those a go, if you are looking for a low-budget Brit flick from the Scott Jeffrey stable. Unfortunately, as with most of Rebecca Matthews’ other movies, Nutcracker Massacre is another one to avoid.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
“Ultimately, this is an example of a film being sold based on its title alone, but sadly that is probably the only highlight. The main issue is pacing, as things never get out of second gear, with one exposition dump which lasts around 15 minutes of an 87-minute film.” Bloody Flicks
“One-time Robin Hood Patrick Bergin serves up a bit of relish as the garrulous antiquarian, who manages to add depth to the Nutcracker mythos with an inventive (but overlong) piece of backstory. And director Rebecca Matthews at least doesn’t miss the trick of meting out one demise that wincingly fulfils the title. But this slay ride is delivered with as much spontaneity and passion as an Amazon Christmas email notification.” 1 out of 5, The Guardian
” …Nutcracker Massacre really needed to lean into the absurdity of its concept and dial everything up to eleven. Unfortunately, unlike Jeffrey’s other holiday horror The Killing Tree which at least exploited the idea of a killer Christmas tree for some outrageous death scenes, this never gets outrageous enough to register on the scale at all. It sticks to dull, bloodless kills and a bland, almost robotic killer that moves so slowly most of its victims should have been able to escape by walking quickly never mind running.” 1 out of 5, Voices from the Balcony
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