Weekend Review – “Santa’s Slay”

Here’s a somewhat festive holiday review to close out the season.

Cast and Crew Information

Bill Goldberg as Santa, spawn of Satan
Douglas Smith as Nicholas Yuleson
Emilie de Raven as Mary “Mac” Mackenzie
Robert Culp as Grandpa
Dave Thomas as Pastor Timmons
Saul Rubinek as Mr. Green
Rebecca Gayheart as Gwen Mason
Chris Kattan as Jason Mason
Fran Drescher as Virginia Mason
James Caan as Darren Mason

Written and directed by David Steiman

Availability Information

Available on DVD from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.


Santa Claus hasn’t always been a nice guy. In fact, he’s the result of the second immaculate conception, and his father is Satan. 1000 years ago, he lost a curling match with an angel, and was forced into a millenium of penance which was served by becoming the jolly, happy Santa we’ve since come to know. Well, now that curse is over, and he’s ready to go back to his old, violent ways.

High Point

The opening massacre. (Be sure to pronounce that last word with a Bugs Bunny-esque “mass-a-cree” to set the appropriate tone.)

Low Point

What happened to the exploding chestnut?

The Review

This gets originality points for the concept in this Brett Ratner production, which adapts the Santa Clause myth as “inventively” (to use the most polite term possible) as the Brett Ratner-directed “X-Men: The Last Stand” adapted its source material. That’s where the originality points end, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects are bad. There’s really no other way to describe them. There are quite a few of them, but at no time are they ever somewhat convincing. I give it 2 out of 6.

The story is weak. The only unpredictable aspect was when they set up a specific “out” to finish the job, positioned it to wrap everything up, and then completely ignored it, presumably in the hopes that this could spawn a sequel. Some of it holds up under its own logic, but that’s primarily because it’s such a simplistic plot it’s hard to mess it up. That didn’t stop them from doing so, however. I give it 3 out of 6.

The acting is generally poor. Emilie de Ravin did a decent job, as did Culp, likely due to their own innate abilities rather than any influence from the director. The rest, including Goldberg and Smith (the main stars) produce work ranging from poor to bad to awful. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production is terrible. Scenes are not blocked, edited, lit, scored, or mixed appropriately through much of the film. Outdoor conditions flip back and forth between full daylight and full nighttime at least three times during the bulk of the film, purportedly set during a single day. I give it 2 out of 6.

The emotional response is not as the filmmakers intended. At first, I thought they were trying to create another “Evil Dead” style movie, but then I started to doubt the homages as the movie progressed. Once it was over, I watched some of the special features and realized they were trying to take themselves seriously. I give it 2 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a bad movie. They clearly hoped you’d be laughing with it, but you will soon find yourself laughing at it instead. I give it 2 out of 6.

In total, Santa’s Slay receives 18 out of 42.