Liz’s Christmas at Fantastic Fest Reviews: The Sacrifice Game and There’s Something in the Barn

ATMOSfx! Woo!

★★1/2 out of ★★★★★

🩸 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸

Directed by Magnus Martens

When Bill (Martin Starr) and his family relocate from California to rural Norway after inheriting a house, they have dreams of turning the property and the included barn into an airbnb (sigh, Americans ruin everything, right!) Their son Lucas is intent on stopping them because he believes the legend of the Barn Elves that a local has told him. Legend says that the elves will do anything to rid their homes of anyone who disturbs their peace, but if you live in harmony they can be your helping hands. But as renovations and holiday decorations start up, it is elves vs. Americans for property rights.

There’s Something in the Barn is billed a dark comedy and it tries really hard to put you in the Christmas spirit but unfortunately, most of the jokes don’t land. Moreover, it has a bit of an identity crisis and can’t decide if it wants to be family friendly (the first two thirds of the film) or lean into the horror (the last act).

Stay tuned to The Scariest Things for information on this film’s next festival stops or a release date.

★★★ out of ★★★★★

🩸🩸 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸

Directed by Jenn Wexler

When two students, Samantha and Clara (Madison Baines and Georgia Acken) are stuck behind at Blackwood boarding school over Christmas break their chaperone Rose (Chloë Levine) is intent on bringing in the yuletide cheer. Unfortunately a Satanic murder cult that has been on a killing spree has arrived at the school and is determined to perform an occult ritual to summon a demon. Now it’s cult vs. schoolgirl in a fight for survival…but who is really trying to survive?

The Sacrifice Game is a fun film but I couldn’t keep from comparing it to The Blackout’s Daughter. Add to that an over the top, scene chewing performance from one of the leads and a groan inducing dance scene á la Wednesday or Megan, and I had to cap my review at three stars. It is not a bad film but it won’t be on my “nice list” this year.

The Sacrifice Game will be coming to Shudder in late 2023.

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