Hey folks, Valkor here. For the rest of the month of December 2018, I'll be putting the focus mainly on films. I might have one or two tech items up for show, but that'll be it to the end the year – and what a year it's been. The biggest highlight for the site is the new look, which is amazing. But I see better things to come. So, to kick things off in the MediaView realm, we'll be taking a look at “Secret Santa”, which is over-the-top dysfunctional madness that was more fun than I had expected!
Secret Santa centers on a Christmas family get together that was planned to "perfection" by mom Shari (Debra Sullivan). She's even gone so far as to have the event catered but she then takes all the credit in the preparation of the meal. Her daughter, April (A Leslie Kies), who is bringing along her new boyfriend Ty (Michael Rady), informs him of all the craziness he's about to experience as well as how much of a bitch her mom is going to be. I should also point out that April is also in charge of the family's traditional “secret Santa” this year and she hopes to get it right or else she'll never hear the end of it. The Pope family is the epitome of a dysfunctional family as could be; there's the secretly gay brother, an over-sexualized half-brother, the overweight sister, one crazy uncle, and an aunt who may or may not have had an affair with the father (I think she did). And speaking of the father, April went and invited dad Leonard (John Gilbert) to the mix; Shari wasn't having it at first, but eventually, she allows it and the party commences. The spin is that someone has spiked Shari's special punch with truth serum and now all sorts of truths are about to spill. But this was some experimental serum so it not only makes you tell the truth, but it also turns you into a crazed killer. And for the Hope family, it's about to be one hell of a night!
I'm keeping my summary tight this time around because the scene at the dinner table is just too much fun to mess up. But there's a lot more going on that's also tied with that scene, so I'm trying to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. But I can totally relate with the film (minus the killings) as any family gathering's we've held in the Val household, usually ends up with someone getting a fist to the face. So, I'll happily watch a family go at it from the comfort of my home rather than getting mixed up in all of the shenanigans.
Without a doubt, Secret Santa is THE craziest film I've watched this year – and I loved every minute of it. From start to finish, the film is loaded with plenty of drama, laughs, and gore that blends together for one horrific holiday treat. The opening of the film, beyond the “snow globe” scene, feels like you're watching some kind of Hallmark holiday special. But then the yelling and the murders start and then it's a wild ride from then onward. What really makes this film work so well has to be the acting, which I have to say, everyone's performance was on point! The dinner table scene, when the family starts sharing their grievances and all of the tea (truth) begins to spill is a thing of beauty. And I'll admit, I had to watch it a few times just because it's so badass! But I can't give the acting all of the props as the writing and directing deserves some praise as well, which helps to showcase all of the Pope's dysfunctions. Wonderful job all-around! In the end, if you're looking for a yearly holiday treat to add to your film rotation that also adds a bit of cheer and fright into the mix, then “Secret Santa” is definitely right up your alley.
Hey Jackson, what're you doing with that dismembered h- OH MY GOD!!!!
Secret Santa is not only one of my favorite films of 2018, but I look forward to watching again as part of my yearly film watching tradition. It's a well-written horror with some solid performances and an insane amount of gore and fun to make this a must watch any time of the year. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Secret Santa a 4.5.