Nightmare on 34th Street (2023)

Like clockwork every year a studio releases a Christmas themed anthology for the masses, and almost always it’s a big letdown. It’s not really enough to inject the whole Christmas aesthetic. A genuinely scary story helps, too. “Nightmare on 34th Street” is a rambling, often nonsensical, unscary Christmas anthology movie that is literally all over the place. It re-uses actors, garners a whole cast that spend their time obviously reading from cue cards off screen, and director Crow doubles down a shoddy editing job that makes his film more confusing and jarring than scary.

Borrowing heavily from “And all Through the House” from “Tales from the Crypt,” a young boy is visited by a maniac in a Santa suit that he is convinced is Santa. Rather than murder the youngster, the maniac regales him with a foursome of goofy horror tales, if only to torment him, I guess. The first story is a distasteful and silly take on Krampus involving a single mom whose husband abandoned her and their children on Christmas. As she struggles to make ends meet, they’re visited by Krampus who seems to delight in terrorizing them. The segment is a rambling, and distasteful take on mental illness.

The second segment involves a young boy with a love for horror movies whose babysitter invites his friends over for assorted shenanigans. Before long they’re being slaughtered by a masked assailant who might be the boy’s long dead older brother. It’s another groaner that fails to deliver in scares, and feels like a silly take on the first segment in “Trick r Treat.” The third segment involves a psychotic group of carolers that torment an old priest on Christmas night, and—well, there’s something about the anti-Christ, and a teenage girl. The finale involves the origin of our maniacal Santa who goes insane after being fired by a corporation.

If you’re in the market for a good holiday themed scare fest, “Nightmare on 34th Street” is not the Christmas anthology you’re looking for. It’s tepid, it’s tedious and even at seventy five minutes, it overstays its welcome.

Available on Digital on December 5th.