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Deadly Games, AKA Dial Code Santa Claus(1989)(Review)[What-Do-You-Mean-It’s-Foreign-But-Not-Friday-Wednesday’s]

Yeah yeah, Christmas came early as I decided to do a foreign film for this week’s Wednesday segment. Friday will be probably be un-holiday related so I wanted to make sure I had a chance to plug this super interesting gem I recently uncovered.

“Deadly Games” is a French holiday film that at it’s core is literally ‘Home Alone’ meets ‘Silent Night’. Thomas is a genius young kid who lives in a mansion (literally the biggest house I’ve ever seen) with his rich mother (who owns, I believe a shopping mall?), his grandpa, and his dog J.R. On Christmas Eve, while his mother is working throughout the night, Thomas finds a man claiming to be Santa Claus in a chatroom. This man is ironically having the worst day of his life, AND he works at the mall Thomas’ mom works at. He gets Thomas’ address and pays him a visit.

The beginning of the film allows us to see the relationship Thomas has with himself, his dog, and his grandfather. He is basically a genius, especially with electronics. The mother and him are close, but she’s a workaholic. JR and grandpa are easily his best friends and they have a very sweet relationship. Grandpa is almost blind – which becomes a problem for the latter half of the film, and we follow Thomas as he goes around the elaborate mansion with his dog, showing the fun traps he has already built in, and then showing us his secret lairs where he has a giant set that looks like it’s from ‘The Goonies’ full of huge stuffed animals, a bridge, a full sized airplane, and much much more. Oh yeah, and he is obsessed with Rambo.

Thomas is on the cusp of still strongly believing in Santa and wants to get evidence of his existence for his friends. So, he sets up a bunch of security cameras and hides underneath a table in front of the fireplace. When Santa does show up, the first thing he does is kill the dog. It sucks, but it sets the tone. From here we watch a game of cat and mouse playout between Santa, Thomas and Grandpa. Lots of booby traps, weapons, and other fun activities make the time fly by with ease.

The kid is super lovable and very well played, I was really rooting for him all the way from the beginning. He is spoiled but not rotten – he has a literal playground hiding under his house that even his mom is unaware of (so like Dexter’s Laboratory but more of a hangout), but he is super respectful to his family and likes having fun.
This movie was a complete blast. Compared to the slog that was ‘Rare Exports’ this was a real blessing. If any of this sounds enticing at all, I strongly urge you to watch it.

‘Deadly Games (AKA Dial Code Santa Claus)’ is currently streaming on Shudder.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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