Stuck for something to watch this Christmas? Well fear not yuletide lovers the Snooty Ushers have brought to you our traditional scouring of Netflix to find new festive favourites, as well as the best Netflix has to offer for Christmas 2016.
Krampus: The Christmas Devil (2013)
Whilst watching a film on Netflix never have a I experienced a barrage of questions pummelling my brain into submission like I did when watching this. It started with, is this an amateur film? which then quickly spiralled into why the fuck am I watching this? with a diversion down what the heck is going on?
Netflix has this listed as an independent film, now there are two types of Independent film. There are the low key features from major studios made for a mere couple million dollars, then there are the truly independent features from amateur film makers made on a dime. Krampus: The Christmas Devil is without a shadow of a doubt the latter, but it’s no hidden gem and has no place on Netflix, or on TV, or anywhere. Whether it’s local law enforcement wielding machine guns, horrible stilted dialogue, a nonsensical plot, or ridiculously placed gratuitous nudity for absolutely no reason whatsoever, everything in the film is messy, ineffective and essentially crap. It is thee worst film I have ever watched on Netflix, it even puts the films from our worst Christmas films ever list to shame.
Uncle Nick (2015)
Actor/writer/comedian Brian Posehn stars as Uncle Nick, a drunk miserable owner of a failing landscaping business. On Christmas he is invited to his lucky younger brothers house for Christmas dinner, begrudgingly he attends whilst his family have to tolerate his poor behaviour. During the day the family slowly unravels into chaos as stories are shared and secrets come to light.
In the majority of Christmas films, even if you have to dig really really deep, there can be an element of Christmas spirit to be found. In Uncle Nick there is none, the complete opposite of saccharine, it’s bitter and sad with a heavy dose of creepy. As refreshing as that is for a film set at Christmas, the intended bleak humour is just as hard to come by as festive spirit. This would likely be the Grinch’s favourite film, but it is far to sour for conventional Christmas viewing. So if your heart is black, and your soul disturbed by Christmas time Uncle Nick is for you.
Happy Christmas (2014)
Joe Swanberg, one of the prominent figures in the mumblecore film movement, directs this character driven film taking place at Christmas with Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey and Lena Dunham starring. Jenny (Kendrick) moves in with her brother Jeff (Joe Swanberg), his wife Kelly (Lynskey) and their child following a break up. Through the course of her stay Jenny demonstrates behaviour that infuriates her family, but also helps Kelly return to her writing career following the birth of her child.
As with many mumblecore films, Happy Christmas is a bit humdrum steadily going about it’s business without any sort of peak or trough. It has no intentions to demonstrate dramatic flair or play your emotions like a violin, it just presents a grounded human film stripped to the bone of frivolous drama. A snapshot of life rather than a significant story. It’s not a stirring kind of Christmas film, but it is a reasonable watch. Just don’t expect overly sweet or scrooge behaviour from anybody involved.
Deck the Halls (2006)
Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) is determined to create family Christmas traditions like the ones he never had with his wife and kids. Somehow getting in the way of that is the arrival of his new neighbour Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito). Buddy’s arrival disturbs Steve’s quiet existence, and his abrasive nature begins to rub him the wrong way. Buddy on the other hand becomes obsessed with seeing his house from space and decides to kit his abode out with as many Christmas lights as possible.
Quite honestly I wish I had finished this article before our Worst Christmas Films list, because this is the second film from this exploration into the Christmas films on Netflix that would have the distinct honour of being on it. Deck the Halls is a comedy with no humour, not a single part of the film is funny. The two lead characters are horribly obnoxious, and the story utterly ridiculous. It would sort of make sense if both Broderick and DeVito’s characters got stuck into a type of arms race involving Christmas lights, but the main conflict in the film is these two characters just don’t like each other because they’re horrible people. It’s the kind of film where you wonder, how on earth did this get made, let alone make it to the cinema. Bereft of humour and lacking in heart, this is as aimless a Christmas film as you’ll get.
Without a shadow of a doubt this has been the most fruitless expedition into what Netflix has to offer. It’s been boring and frustrating in equal measure. However it’s not all lumps of coal and curdled eggnog, because the below films are also available on Netflix.
Just click on the pictures to see what we thought of these more classic festive favourites.