Good Tidings is a down and dirty low budget horror from director Stuart W. Bedford. This British has high aspirations, taking elements of classic horror movies like Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, John Carpenter’s classic siege movie Assault in Precinct 13, while also adding a dash of everyone’s favourite festive action flick – Die Hard. Bedford has watched these movies, made a list and checked it twice, ticking off a variety of genre must-haves to craft a solid horror. It might have a limited budget, but it packs a pretty good wallop (even if it does run a touch too long).
It’s Christmas and a group of homeless people are seeking refuge in an abandoned courthouse. They may have been naughty or they may have been nice but that doesn’t matter when three homicidal maniacs dressed as Santa Clause come to deliver carnage rather than presents. It’s like somebody asked for Santa and got Satan instead. However, these ho, ho horrible hombres don’t anticipate Alan Mulhall’s down-on-his-luck soldier to be on-hand to help stop a true nightmare before Christmas. He goes all John Mc Clane in an attempt to stop the carnage amongst the carols.
If you’re looking for a gritty and grimy Christmas horror, then Good Tidings is the movie for you. It delivers in the violence stakes, while also offering up some impressive imagery. Liam Ashcroft’s Carpenter-esqe score adds a lot of atmosphere, using some great synth stylings alongside some well known festive tunes. The occasional scene might be a little rough around the edges, but that only adds to the film’s neo-grindhouse charm. This isn’t the type of movie you sit-down and watch with the whole family.
The film’s main flaw is that at over 90 minutes it’s a little too long, with some scenes outstaying their welcome by a few minutes. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say, but at times the film feels a little repetitive. Sometimes it’s better to leave your audience wanting more.
An enjoyable scholcker, Good Tidings is an entertaining horror that manages to take elements of the old and dust them off for a Christmas surprise. It’s low budget might limit it’s audience, but if you like your festive films on the dark side and a little gnarly then this is the movie for you.