SANTA ISN’T REAL is a Christmas horror movie that could have been good, but simply isn’t. The short runtime of 76 minutes, is almost the best thing. Too much of the acting is bad and so is the story. Read our Santa Isn’t Real movie review here!

SANTA ISN’T REAL could’ve been a new Christmas horror movie classic. It would just have required a better story and a stronger cast. Not the entire cast needs replacement, but one key character could do with a re-cast.

Fortunately, it isn’t too long with a runtime of 76 minutes, but that’s almost the best thing. This movie has good bones, but that’s about it. So much of the story is forced and the plot twists just feel too easy. Or rather, why not make it better? Maybe I’m especially irritated about that: It could have been good, but just really isn’t.

Continue reading our full Santa Isn’t Real movie review below. Find it on Digital and VOD from December 8, 2023.

Santa as a killer

The movie appropriately begins on Christmas Eve, where the main character, Nikki, is brutally attacked. She’s a young woman and fights back, but still ends up in a year-long coma.

And yes, we do mean “year-long” as in she wakes up just in time to celebrate Christmas yet again. Now, having been in a coma for a year, you’d think she needs some time to recuperate. But no, it’s a Christmas miracle that she is just fine and ready to go with her two best friends and her boyfriend to a cabin in the woods.

Yeah, I’m not thrilled with this starting point. It’s ridiculous!

It also comes as absolutely no surprise that Santa shows up at the remote cabin. Here, Nikki and her friends will fight back. However, the horror and mystery of it all is virtually non-existent as you can guess just about every single “surprise” or “plot twist” way ahead of time.

Santa Isn't Real – Review | Xmas Horror Movie

Short, but not sweet!

As already mentioned, the runtime is just 76 minutes. You would think that any horror movie with a crisp runtime of just 1 hour and 16 minutes including credits would be pretty tight. But then you’d think wrong.

There is a distinct “film school”-vibe to this movie. It’s the kind of movie where you can see potential, but it is still quite far from being ready for actual audiences. The effects are fine, but not impressive, and that’s fine in a Christmas horror movie.

Christmas is kitsch and campy in itself, so any horror movie taking place during the Holidays can get away with a lot. It can not, however, get away with terrible dialogue which is brutal on the less strong actors, and just ruins it for the better actors.

Yet again, Scarlett Sperduto is one of the stronger actors. Just as she was in #Float which also struggled with less-than-strong performances. Yes, I’m being nice. ‘Tis the season and all that so I’m focusing (again) on the good. Or at least better, because the story in Santa Isn’t Real doesn’t leave room for anyone to be good.

Watch Santa Isn’t Real on Digital or VOD

The new Christmas horror movie comes from writer-director Zac Locke. I actually enjoyed his previous horror movie #Float which has not been well-received by users on IMDb. Currently sitting at a 2.7 rating there. Yikes!

I cannot imagine how Santa Isn’t Real will be received, but maybe I’m just the opposite of IMDb users when it comes to Zac Locke movies. We’ll have to wait and see. This is the second feature film from Zac Locke as a writer and director. At times, it felt a lot like a student movie – and not one of the better!

Previously, he has been a producer on a lot of really great genre productions. These include everything from The Wind (2018) and Bloodline (2018), which were good, to Thriller (2018) and Black Christmas (2019), which were not good.

Still, if you’re looking for a new Christmas Horror movie, you could check it out. Personally, I would definitely opt for a rewatch of A Wonderful Knife (2023) instead. Find more Christmas horror movies here >

SANTA ISN’T REAL is out on Digital and VOD on December 8, 2023


Director: Zac Locke
Writer: Zac Locke
Cast: Scarlett Sperduto, Dana Millican, Kaya Coleman


After suffering a brutal attack on Christmas eve, a young woman, Nikki, struggles to convince her friends that the assailant was none other than Ol’ Kris Kringle. When Santa returns to terrorize the group in their remote cabin the next Christmas, Nikki and her friends must overcome disbelief as they fight to stay alive.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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