“T’was the night before Christmas and not a creature was stirring . . . “

For many families, especially children, this is a familiar jingle around the holidays.  It ushers in a time of goodwill among men, a time for loved ones to get together and celebrate our love for one another.

For Ashley and Billy Cummings, they are coming to terms with the death of their mom while coping with their stepdad, Horace Jones.  Ashley (Leeana Hergenreder) is the overprotective older sister, doing the best she can to take care of and protect 9-year old Billy (Chaise Thompkins) from their drunken stepfather, Horace (John Seese) who is as horny as they come.  Billy has one wish on his Christmas list – for Horace to be killed.

Shot entirely on location in Canonsburg, PA, first-time writer – director, Jonathan Patrick Hughes delivers us a gripping tale of familial revenge while maintaining the innocence of childhood.  His unique understanding of what has made other horror movies successful is on full display here.

Supporting Hughes is director of photography and editor, Kyle Rosania, who successfully translated Hughes’s intended look driving home not only the horror and the psycho-sexual feel of the movie, but also Ashley’s emotional terror.  There is a very grindhouse feel to the film, something that adds to the effectiveness of the narrative.

Hergenreder successfully gave us the impression of a tortured soul with someone who still had enough room left in their heart for love for Billy.  Seese convincingly conveys the piggishness of someone who was either abused from a young age, or someone who was just never satisfied.  Thompkins’ work was a bit of a struggle, not because of the way the character was written, but because of his performance.  This is something that Hughes will learn to become more proficient at in his future works.  For this film, it works.

Bec Johnson’s makeup work truly shines here, helping Seese convey not only his status in life, but the gruesomeness of “the act”.  Adding to the experience is Braden Bixler’s sound design and mix along with Rosania’s editing.  Their collective work during the transformation sequence was especially effective.

Hughes is very confident in his material and the support he received from his team is formidable.

“(S) aint Nick” is Recommended.

“(S)aint Nick” is being distributed by Body Bag films with producer Tony Newton and will be available soon on Demand and DVD.”