Horror Movie Review: One Hell of a Christmas (2002)

Written and directed by Shaky González, and starring Tolo Montana, Thure Lindhardt and Zlatko Buric. One Hell of a Christmas is an apt title as if you watch it this festive season, you’ll have one hell of a bad time.

If you thought that joke was bad, get a load of the ‘comedy’ aspect of this action/horror/comedy. One Hell of a Christmas is one of those ‘forgotten’ early noughties movies that was released and immediately consigned to the bargain bins of your local video store.

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Carlitos (Tolo Montana) has just been released from prison having served two years for his crimes. He is a reformed man now (sort of) and wants to reconnect with his young son and be a good father. However, his friend Mike (Thure Lindhardt) comes around and things start to backwards for Carlitos. All because of some sort of magical totem, which the original owner wants back.

A set-up that shares slight similarities with Wishmaster and mixing elements of Hellraiser, Evil Dead and Night of the Demons. One Hell of a Christmas shows ambition and imagination but lacks the story-telling chops or budget to deliver anything but a mediocre Christmas-themed horror. The holiday season serving as nothing more than a backdrop rather than being integral to the plot.

The film wants you to care about Carlitos and actor Tolo Montana certainly gives a fair performance even if the character is a caricature for the most part. The whole ‘ex-con trying to go on the straight and narrow’ is hardly original and there’s just not enough meat to make you want to see him get out of it alive. Especially as his perceived toughness comes across exactly like that… perceived. At least until we finally get demonic and monstrous action.

That aspect of the movie takes an age to come about and viewers may wonder, for a while, if they’re even watching a horror movie. Yet, when the action does finally kick in, it can be a lot of fun. Imaginative practical effects that may not look amazing because of the budget, but satisfy enough to keep you watching on.

One Hell of a Christmas’ biggest problem is that it’s too long. A serious amount of fat needed trimming but it didn’t get it. So, the film feels bloated and looses traction far too many times.


  • Carl Fisher

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One Hell of a Christmas (2002)
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