Horror Movie Review: The Christmas Tapes (2022)

The Christmas Tapes is a festive horror-comedy anthology from the writing and directing duo of Robert Livings and Randy Nundlall Jr.

The wraparound story sees as family gathering on Christmas Eve to enjoy some festivities and open a present each. Their evening is interrupted by someone at the door. A man (Greg Sestero) who broke down nearby and is looking to use their phone to call a tow-truck. He’s polite, friendly and unassuming, so the family welcome him inside. After all, it’s Christmas!

A mistake as it the stranger is taken in by one of the presents, a digital camera, and marvels at the gift-receivers desire to make movies. This prompts him to pull out a gun, hold the family hostage and force them to watch a series of found footage horror tales he has assembled (all on VHS). These are his Christmas Tapes and he’s hoping to make his next classic with the family.

The first is called Travel Buggies and sees a vlogging couple, Dave (Caleb Lush) and Jess (Louise Harding), head out into the wilderness for some Christmas camping. However, they inadvertently awaken a sinister and evil being known as Hans Trapp, resulting in some bloody mayhem. It’s a strong opening short that nails the sense of cold and isolation, while fitting in traditional found-footage scares, and some blood and guts.

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Up next is The Christmas Gifts. Where Dean (Jason Kuykendall) has come up with the idea of boxing himself up and having himself delivered to his kids as a present. It’s a fun idea with the only problem being finding someone willing to deliver him. Cue social media and the excellent Vernon Welles’ Santa Claus. Who is more than happy to help Dean out, but not before he and Mrs Claus have their fun first.

Entertaining and twisted, what this short lacks in ‘scares’, it makes up for with gleeful violence.

The next is the shortest, fastest and most forgettable of the shorts and goes the POV route. A man has to dash across town and deliver something before a timer goes off. All while a sinister figure pursues him. It’s so short and so fast, it blazes by in a blur and has very little impact.

Thankfully, the last story is much better. Arguably the best of the bunch because it’s very funny. Taking it’s prompts from the Paranormal Activity series, The Christmas Spirit sees a young couple, Devin (Devin Valdez) and Ian (Ian Hopps) move to their new home only to find it may be haunted. In comes Paranormal Perry (Dave Sheridan) to help them get rid of the spirit and a lot of laughs will be had.

Easily the best short in the anthology because of Paranormal Perry, who is a cross between Jim Carey and Neil Flynn’s janitor from Scrubs. Every single word out of his mouth is funny, his facial expressions, and overall mannerisms are funny. He is a funny character and how Devin and Ian react to him just makes the entire scenario even funnier.

Of course, in between each short, we go back to the family being held hostage and wrap that up at the end in empathic fashion.

The Christmas Tapes is a fun festive anthology with good to great shorts and a watchable wraparound. It’s clear everyone was enjoying themselves here and the film manages to balance horror and comedy well. It’s got just the right amount of cheese to make you smile almost all the way through it.


  • Carl Fisher

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The Christmas Tapes (2022)
  • The Final Score - 6.5/10
User Review
8.45/10 (2 votes)