Christmas Horror Movie Review: Deadly Games (1989)

3615 code Père Noël (3615 code Father Christmas), referring to a Minitel dialling number (also known as Deadly Games, Dial Code Santa Claus, Game Over, and Hide and Freak) is a 1989 French horror thriller film written and directed by René Manzor. It is noted for its similarities to the 1990 American film Home Alone. The makers of which Manzor once threatened with legal action on the grounds of plagiarism, alleging that they had “remade my movie.”

Thomas de Frémont, is a child prodigy obsessed with tinkering and action films. He lives in a secluded and high-tech castle with his widowed mother, Julie, his diabetic. And partially blind grandfather, Papy, and his pet dog, J.R. On Christmas Eve, Thomas uses the Minitel to try and communicate with Santa Claus. He unknowingly makes contact with a local derelict who is using a public Minitel terminal. The deranged man claims to be Santa, and attempts to get Thomas to divulge his address. Before their connection is severed, the vagrant learns that Thomas’s mother manages a nearby Printemps.

While Thomas sets up a security system to record or capture Santa, the vagabond gets a job as a Santa at the Printemps. However, he is fired from it after Julie witnesses him slap a child who had accused him of not being the real Santa. The vagrant subsequently steals a Santa suit, paints his hair and beard white, and hitches a ride to Julie’s home in the back of a delivery van. The driver of which he kills upon reaching the de Frémont residence. The man then murders Julie’s groundskeeper and her chef.

He breaks into her home through the chimney, and stabs J.R. to death in front of Thomas, who is convinced that the intruder is an enraged Santa. What follows is a game of cat and mouse as Thomas uses his security system and booby traps. As well as an arsenal of makeshift weaponry, to defend his enfeebled grandfather and combat the trespasser. Who has cut the telephone lines and trashed the only car.

Can Santa be stopped? Or will Christmas be ruined for Thomas forever? Watch and find out.

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What to even say about this movie? The perfect Christmas horror movie. A funny, heartwarming and emotional tale. Super unique and inventive sets and locations. In addition to fantastic acting all round. Every single person is giving their all and you can feel it. There’s clear a strong bond between Papy and Thomas, you really do fear for his life throughout.

Floersheim (Santa) delivers an amazing, almost wordless performance. You can see so much emotion in his eyes and the psychology of the characters carries through with ease. He had me feeling terror and pity all at once with just his demeanour. Lalanne (Thomas) is hands down one of the best child actors I’ve ever seen. He opens strong and never lets up. The scenes he performs are extremely difficult, dramatic scenes and he does so flawlessly.

To top it off, Deadly Games is very Christmassy from the music, to sets to general wholesome feel.

Overall, Deadly Games was incredible and went above and beyond expectation. Incredible performances, fantastic plot and full of enough terror to make you block up your chimney on Christmas Eve.


  • Sally Powell

    Editor/Writer - Stay at home mum educating the horror minds of tomorrow. If it's got vampires or Nicolas Cage in it, I'm sold. Found cleaning bums or kicking ass in an RPG. (And occasionally here reviewing all things horror and gaming related!)

Deadly Games
  • The Final Score - 10/10
User Review
3.1/10 (2 votes)