We are approaching an age in indie filmmaking in which many young filmmakers are creating slasher films based on the films they grew up with as a youth. Last year, Justin Russell created the suspenseful 80’s slasher homage The Sleeper which played tribute to such classics as Black Christmas and When A Stranger Calls, Lucas Masson created the devilishly clever Baby-Sitting which added a twist on the evil children movies of yesteryear, and now we have Mikel Ledesma playing tribute to his favorite 80’s and 90’s slashers with a supernatural twist in tonight’s Tinsel. With a Christmas theme, an urban legend backstory, and a madman in Santa costume, Does Tinsel deliver the bloody good or does it simply die trying?
Tinsel begins with a teenage girl running through a park at night while listening to music when she is attached and brutally stabbed to death by a disfigured man dressed as Santa Claus. We then move inside a random home as we find a couple sleeping only to be killed by the same mysterious Santa with an icicle in his hand. He moves down the hall to cut the throat opening of a sleeping young boy (after Silent Night & Baby-Sitting, I’m sort of loving this new trend of killing kids in horror films) only to find his way to a young girl’s room. As he is about the stab her, the girl wakes up. It has only been a nightmare…or, is a premonition of things to come?
The girl, Sarah (a game for anything Alisha Revel), has grown up into a beautiful adult with some serious emotional problems. She lives with her brother Matt (a very likable Kensley Grant) and they are getting ready for a Christmas party with friends. Sarah begins to fear Christmas as she sees visions of the murderous Santa wherever she goes. We learn the backstory of the Santa. A man murdered his wife for putting tinsel on the Christmas tree and attacked his son with icicle. The woman’s body was found a few days later but the boy was nowhere to be found. Is this the same boy now grown up who is after Sarah and her friends? Will they survive the night or be left as bloody ornaments for the Christmas tree?
There is a lot to like about Tinsel. Shot for just $1800, the film looks terrific. Lots of bright, bold colors and stylish cinematography give the film the look a polished, profession effort made for much, much more. The lighting and production credits are both solid and the film features an energetic and fun soundtrack. The performance are all around solid with special mention to Revel who is given a very difficult character to play who, in lesser hands, may have come off to be quite unlikable. The kills are nice and bloody as well. I’m not completely sold on the ending as it felt a bit tacked on. I would have preferred a more straight on slasher approach but that’s just me and there is definitely an audience out there that is going to love this ending. Stay tuned through the end credits for some additional surprises.
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