‘The gifts that keep on killing’
The Christmas Tapes is a 2022 American horror anthology film in which a family’s movie night on Christmas Eve is interrupted by a stranger, insistent on making the next Christmas ‘classic’ film himself.
Written, co-produced and directed by Robert Livings and Randy Nundlall Jr (Infrared). Also produced by Travis Ayers.
The Sestero Pictures-Woof Cat Films co-production stars Dave Sheridan, Vernon Wells, Greg Sestero, Lori Richardson, Robert Livings, Louise Harding, Jason Kuykendall, Ian Hopps, Todd Lubitsch, Ruby Setnik, Joshua Rose, Janice Angela Burt, Caleb Lush and Romulo Reyes.
“The Christmas Tapes is a throwback to the anthology films of the 80s and 90s but with a modern found-footage twist.
Christmas horror is a subgenre that we feel deserves more attention, and this film came about from us discussing the classics and how we could possibly bring something new to the table. From day one, we were aware that this film had to be fun and could not take itself too seriously.
Developing each segment and the trajectory of how they would transition from traditional horror to comedy horror was an exciting journey. We look forward to you discovering this box of Christmas tapes.”
The Christmas Tapes is slightly elevated by the presence of Dave Sheridan, Vernon Wells and Greg Sestero, however, as with most found footage films, the content is mostly middling to tedious. Some judicious editing would really have helped as each segment is way too long. Horror fans who appreciate found footage may have the stamina for The Christmas Tapes but discerning genre aficionados are advised to avoid it even though it’s free to watch online.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
“The Christmas Tapes doesn’t do anything special, but overall it’s a likeable little anthology with production values which are above average for the subgenre and some decent performances.” 2.5 out of 5, Eye for Film
“When it comes to the visuals, the movie takes a page from the V/H/S series and goes for the found footage style […] Sometimes, found footage can feel a bit forced, but thankfully all the stories make it seem like they could actually have been recorded by it. This is not the case with something like Chronicle, where you ask why the movie decided to go this route, as it makes no sense.” 7 out of 10, Fiction Horizon
“I totally got into each segment and was impressed by how the tales’ omens landed sickening bullseyes. The film is light on gore but heavy on the creep factor, which I found very impressive. My only Christmas wish for The Christmas Tapes was I wanted five minutes removed from The Xmas Spirit. The slob humor generated by Paranormal Perry needs trimming as it threatens to overwhelm the build-up to the excellent nasty tree-topper finale.” 8.5 out of 10, Film Threat
“From concept to execution, The Christmas Tapes could be titled V/H/S: XMAS. Whatever you think of that lo-fi horror anthology franchise is a reliable barometer of your reception to this well-stocked project of merriment, mischief, mayhem and murder […] The Christmas Tapes satisfies as a maniacal party mix of playful terror and dark humor.” Flick Attack
“I wouldn’t say there’s anything here that stands out as being great, but nothing stands out as being awful either (some dodgy CGI and that super-short, almost plotless, story aside). This is a surprisingly solid piece of work. It’s maybe not good enough to warrant repeat viewings or even a glowing recommendation, but I enjoyed it…” 6 out of 10, For It Is Man’s Number
“Overall, The Christmas Tapes could have used some refinement in the frame narrative and a little bit more of some things – and a little bit less of others – but is a refreshing and interesting watch, particularly for fans of low-budget horror who want a little bit of a Christmas cookie sampler.” 4 out of 5, Horror DNA
“In spite of some aesthetic performances that didn’t quite hit the mark, The Christmas Tapes is a really enjoyable one. Mostly a generic collection of stories centered around an evil Santa, a killer scarecrow, and a demonic Christmas decoration, the iconic casting of Greg Sestero, Vernon Wells, and Dave Sheridan brings the title a little more pizzaz than is usually afforded short stories like these.” 4 out of 5, Mother of Movies
“Certain stories feel like we could have had a lot more from. This is seen mostly in the Gift one, which has a twisted side to it. when it comes to the different stories, they tend to use something different within the horror sub-genres. Giving the audience a taste of different styles of horror. Everything works smoothly enough for horror anthology. It gives us a nice range and some solid scares throughout.” 3 out of 5, Movie Reviews 101
” …as it plays out it panders to cliché and we get the tired old script chestnut of ‘Are you really going to film everything’ more than once, and once we’ve seen the Vernon Wells as Santa segment it takes a sharp turn towards the mundane. It’s a shame as a couple of the segments are corkers. The remainder are a bit of a chore to sit through.” 3 out of 10, My Bloody Reviews
” …while the found footage approach seems slightly irritating in at least some of the segments, they’re all very well-told and well-structured shorts, with nice plot twists and macabre details, as you’d come to expect from an old school anthology, and fittingly, too, the segments vary in tone from the almost comical to the utterly disturbing, to keep the audience well-entertained throughout…” Search My Trash
“Overall The Christmas Tapes is a fun collection of shorts. Granted the first segment could have used a bit of tightening up and the time used to make “Untitled” a bit more complete. But it’s a lot better than I expected after having seen Infrared and an amusing way to pass some time.” Voices from the Balcony
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