I was given the opportunity to write a review for an upcoming Christmas horror comedy. I went into it knowing very little about Ugly Sweater Party, but you can assume a lot of things based on the title and synopsis alone: ugly sweaters and loads upon loads of gore. This movie was nothing at all like what I was expecting and it really came out of left field for me. My thought process after each scene was pretty much WHAT. THE. F--K. Halfway through the movie, I was so numb to the insanity I was seeing that I wasn’t even shocked when one thrash metal-loving character showed up and started blasting everyone with a laser beam Riff Raff style.
Ugly Sweater Party is a story about two guys, Cliff (Charles Chudabala) and Jody (Hunter Johnson). On their way to an ugly sweater party, they realize that they’ve both forgotten to bring along their sweaters. They meet a man on the road, a detective played by Brad Potts, who just so happens to be carrying just the thing the two boys are looking for. They steal the sweater, completely unaware that it holds a dark secret and whoever wears it will no longer be able to pilot his or her own body, which leads to a killing spree at a camp in the woods.The movie begins with Minnie/Bluntz’s performance of “Ugly Sweater Party,” which plays in the background between rotating scenes of a brutal interrogation and a future party-goer crafting her Christmas sweater. It has a catchy, upbeat pop sound, which matches the manic editing. Each scene changes seemingly for no apparent reason from its normal color to either a black and white filter, a negative filter, or a Christmas light bokeh type of filter. On top of this, we’re shown flashbacks of a gruesome murder involving young children. All of these things immediately draw the audience’s attention as it jumps right into the story.
When the two friends arrive at the camp, they learn that it’s a bible camp called Camp Mandix, which is headed up by Counselor Mandix (Marv Blauvelt). The camp name alone tells you what kind of humor this horror comedy deals with. The two most prominent types of jokes are raunchy, vulgar sex jokes and blasphemous religion jokes. I’m a fan of neither. Comedy is possibly the most complex genre because everyone’s sense of humor is different. Therefore, upon my second viewing of Aaron Mento’s Ugly Sweater Party, I put myself in a mindset of someone who might go for this type of comedy, which is best described as obnoxious and blunt, and I enjoyed it a bit better.
The acting wasn’t great, but specific horror movies are able to get away with this, especially if they belong to the subcategory of horror comedy. For example, the acting in 2014’s Zombeavers is part of the reason the movie is so hilarious and it was given a critics’ score of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Like Zombeavers, Ugly Sweater Party is a movie that purposely aims to be bad, but in a good way.Ugly Sweater Party is probably best served with a group of friends, a bowl of loud, and heaps of junk food, but don’t forget to bring your ugly sweaters because we all know what could happen if you do. This is one of those movies that you either love or hate. Either you go for this type of humor or you’re not into it. Either you can get behind the incredibly one-note and sex-driven characters or you can’t. Either you enjoy its absurdity and wackiness or you don’t. For these reasons, I’m drawing a line somewhere right around the middle and rating this movie a 4/10.
Ugly Sweater Party will be available on Amazon Instant Video November 23rd.