Ten year old Thomas de Fremont(Alain Lalanne) knows that Santa Claus is real. Being something of a young tech prodigy Thomas hatches a plan to record Santa on Christmas Eve. After contacting Santa on Minitel, an early precursor to the internet, Thomas then hacks into his home’s security system. What Thomas doesn’t realize is that he’s connected with a department store Santa(Patrick Floersheim). A creepy Santa that has just been fired by the store’s manager, Thomas’s own mother Julie de Fremont(Brigitte Fossey). Now Thomas must protect himself, his grandfather(Louis Ducreux), and his home from the deranged and sadistic Santa Claus.
Deadly Games is a horror/comedy directed by Rene Manzor. Originally, the film released in France as 3615 Code Pere Noel(Dial Code Santa Claus) in 1989. A year later a similar movie came to the United States, the Christmas classic Home Alone. Just like Home Alone, Deadly Games focuses on fun and excitement. The score, acting, and cinematography are all work brilliantly to heighten the enjoyment. Christmas wonder permeates the film’s beginning and Alain Lalanne does a fantastic job as Thomas. His imagination and ingenuity are infectious and it’s impossible not to root for him. Horror fans never fear as Patrick Floersheim brings a maniacal version of Santa Claus to life. His performance is absolutely skin crawling.
Unfortunately, all the work in making the movie engaging to watch came with a price. Many of the scenes in Deadly Games feel contrived and unrealistic. This film is clearly set in the real world but also wants us to believe some downright absurd things. One example involves a hidden chamber filled with Christmas presents. This unusually large room is given a short explanation that doesn’t make sense. I guess the presents were in the room because the film is about Christmas so, why not?
Deadly Games is riddled with questionable explanations and strange decisions. However, one element is unaffected. That’s the fun factor. Whether it’s the festive cheer of the Christmas scenes, the delight of watching Thomas being Thomas, or the demented nature of Santa Claus you’ll be fully entertained watching this film. Deadly Games is currently streaming on Shudder.
I give Deadly Games 4 out of 6 reels.
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