Hey Syfy Movie Fans!
We enjoy reviewing some of the Syfy Movies of the week here from time to time, especially when they feature so many celebrities from great science fiction programs including Stargate, Eureka, Fringe, Caprica, and Supernatural, to name but a few.
Since it is Christmas week and that Syfy is very good at creating their own science fiction horror disaster movies, guess what category the fun 12 Disasters of Christmas film falls into that we found to be so enjoyable?
12 Disasters of Christmas stars the very capable and very tall (6’4″) Ed Quinn, well remembered from his time in Eureka, talented musician, and many television and movie appearances. Quinn plays the father figure, Joseph.
Veteran character actresses comely Holly Elissa, recently featured in Hellcats and Fringe, is the mother, Mary, and gifted Magda Apanowicz, from Husbands and the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, as their daughter, the “chosen one”, Jacey, also star in 12 Disasters of Christmas.
Jacey has an interesting name. It is pronounced Jay-Cee throughout the film, drawing a strong similarity to J.C. or Jesus Christ. With parents named Mary and Joseph, it is not hard to make assumptions about where this is going.
This film, like many of SyFy’s movies of the week, are a little hokey, but that is what is cool about them. They are meant to be enjoyed for being hokey, not meant to be taken seriously. If we can believe in a giant Megashark and Two-Headed Sharks, how hard can it be to accept killer Christmas lights?
The story begins with Joe and his daughter, Jacey rock climbing. It is Jacey’s 18th birthday. Once they have finished with the climb, they return to Joe’s truck. There is a fence where a developer is putting up a superstore.
As the story begins to develop,we are now let in on the preexisting rivalry, in fact downright animosity between Joe and his family, including the local developer, Kane (Roark Critchlow) – another biblical name.
Joe comments, “our little store has given us everything we have. Gotta protect it.”
They are having a very warm winter. Joe turns on the tap over the kitchen sink to discover red goop pouring out. It looks like watered down tomato sauce. Naturally, Joe figures it must be Kane’s Megadeal construction that has contaminated the reservoir with sauce!
As she places the ring on Jacey’s finger, Grandma thoughtfully adds, “this might hurt a little bit”.
Once the ring has been placed on Jacey’s finger, it is obvious that it hurts a lot.
Joe enters, concerned about his daughter. He does not have long to worry about her. Another problem develops.
There is a crash from outside. Always alert to danger, man’s best friend, Sheeba the Dog, rushes to the front door barking.
As the dog runs off, Joe sees a huge ice spear in the yard. Grandma decides that now is the time to tell him about what is happening. All she manages to get out before she is speared by ice is that, “ Jacey is special, but she can’t do this by herself”. More ice falls. Everyone runs into the house for protection. Poor Grandma Miriam is skewered, the first “Red Shirt” victim in the 12 Disasters of Christmas.
Joe drives to the Sheriff’s (Greg Kean) office and meets Mayor Jude (Andrew Airlie) on his way inside. The mayor begins by telling Joe that, as mayor, he cannot join the picket line against Kane. The man is beginning to show which side of the fence he is on. Joe has to interrupt him to tell him there has been an accident.
The Sheriff meets Joe as he enters and offers to fill out the paperwork if Joe signs it. Joe tells the Sheriff what happened, then wonders what caused it. Kane walks in stating, “I’m sure you will find some way to blame it on my construction”. Yes, folks, he is a tool.
Kane’s younger brother (Kaj-Erik Eriksen), and obvious lackey, bears a gift for the Sheriff, and, Joe – a restraining order. After more nasty comments from the Kane brothers, and Joe departing, the Sheriff responds, “for God’s sake, the man lost his mother this morning”.
Sadly, Joe and his family will have no time to grieve. Things are about to get a lot worse, and Grant (Donnelly Rhodes) seems to know all about it. Grant has the distinct privilege of being seen by the community as the local nut job. The one who insists the world is about to end, and, of course, no one believes him. He arrives at Joe’s house to attempt to speak to Jacey, to warn her once again. But Jacey is not available. In fact, Jacey has decided she needs to get away for a while at the local Christmas tree farm.
If Donnelly Rhodes looks familiar, it is because the actor is a Canadian icon of television and film. He has appeared in many science fiction productions such as Battlestar Galactica as the Doctor with the cigarette, Smallville, Psych and Supernatural.
Jacey is not only out with her friend Elizabeth (Brenna O’Brien), she is not answering her phone. Passing a Christmas tree farm, Jacey suddenly begins to feel weird. Of course she does, looking for the right Christmas tree is terrifying!
She demands that Elizabeth turn around and enter the lot, but she has no idea why.
Stargate SG-1 fans will certainly remember Brenna O’Brien from her role playing 12 year old Adria in the tenth season opener episode “Flesh And Blood” (2006). Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she quickly becomes a “Red Shirt”.
The doctor is dealing with another emergency, so no one else is available. Since she has medical experience, would she go out and deal with the accident. Of course, being the awesome person that she is, Mary agrees right away.
At the tree farm, Jacey and Elizabeth run through the middle of the uncut trees in sheer panic after the tornado appears to make her feel sick as well, since she is clutching her stomach. Fearful of the tornado, the girls run back toward the car.
Unfortunately, the tornado picks up the car and deposits it on Jacey’s friend. Elizabeth is the next victim of the disasters when she is killed after the car crushes her to death courtesy of the nearby tornado! Bye bye Adria, errr Elizabeth!
Joe discovers his daughter walking alone on the road. She is very upset. She has just lost another person close to her. It is amazing she is not a basket case. Joe and Jacey head toward Grant’s store. Joe wants to get to the bottom of what the heck is going on.
After breaking and entering into Grant’s store, Joe and Jacey come across an entire wall full of information about Mayans and December 21, 2012. With all the evidence before them and a handy ancient book, they begin to put it all together, including the ring given to Jacey by her grandmother.
So, Grant, cryptic as ever tells him, “the end of the world is what’s going on”. Great line!
Continuing his inquiry in earnest, Joe asks Grant, almost incredulous, so it’s “two turtle doves and twelve drummers drumming is the end of the world”?
Grant replies, “that’s exactly right. We are running out of time. We’ve already seen five disasters, heat wave, dead birds, red water, tornadoes and ice spears. There are seven more to go.”
It’s confirmed folks, the countdown to world destruction has started!
The next attempt from Joe to clarify, he asks, “so this is some sort of 2012 thing?” Grant responds with passion, “no, this IS the 2012 thing!”
As she is helping a driver, there is an earthquake and an energy barrier of some kind bursts out of the ground and surrounds the town. The sixth disaster has arrived!
The mayor is having no luck, so Kane takes over and gets the governor’s attention, giving us an idea of who really runs things in life.
Now that Grant has joined the team, they head out to Grant’s cabin to locate another ring. Apparently, the five gold rings, part of the 12 Days of Christmas song is very significant.
Grant provides more information: “when the Mayans were being conquered by Cortez, they feared that the prophesy would be wiped out with them so they created this song to make sure the message would survive. It’s been spread around the world, translated into many languages, and, Joseph, I don’t have time to explain this to you. I’m not crazy. The world is going to end today unless you and I stop it. And we can’t do it without Jacey.”
To further explain just why the disasters are happening in a northern U.S town and not somewhere else, say Central America, home of the Mayans, Grant tells Joe and Jacey that the Mayans sent Jacey’s ancestors to that area with the rings to await the time they would be needed again. Jacey comments, “Do I look Mayan to you?” Grant responds, “A thousand years of European intermarriage can do that”.
As they journey to Grant’s cabin, Jacey messes around with the ancient book. As she does so, she finds a compass embedded in the front cover. Moments later, there is a sudden squelching noise; Jacey is affected again as the weird barrier rises to encircle the town.
At the accident scene, a car approaches at a high rate of speed, and, despite Mary’s attempt to stop them, they drive through the barrier. As they do, the car, and the couple inside are transformed. The car disintegrates on the other side. Mary tells Peter that they need to warn the town.
When they reach the area being used as a triage center, Kane the dork, does not listen to Mary. At the sound of approaching helicopters, they head outside. Only Mary and Peter seem concerned about the impending disaster.
As we will soon see, it really will make no difference whatsoever.
With communications down, there is no way to warn the incoming helicopters. The lead chopper falls apart as soon as it penetrates the barrier. The second aircraft attempts to escape, but is too close and meets the same fate moments later.
Meanwhile, Joe, Jacey and Grant have found one of the rings under a rock and encased in a small clay pot. As he slips it on his daughter’s finger, she reacts in great pain.
I guess we are lucky that she is aware the fate of the world is in the balance, because her reaction would lead me to believe that every step forward is at a tremendous cost. They head off to find the next ring.
The next disaster is about to hit. Despite a heat wave, suddenly the back windows of the truck begin freezing, as do the people in the path of the freezing wave! It’s absolutely clear now people, we’re doomed!
Thankfully, smarmy Kane’s brother gets frozen. Jacey did pull off a bit of a miracle, however, by using some sort of power to keep the freezing away from everyone else.
Kane demands to know what happened. He points the finger at Jacey, “you controlled that thing. You set it on my brother and you killed him.”
Naturally, being the rational people that they are, Joe tries to explain by showing Kane the ancient Mayan book.
He tells the crowd about the 12 Disasters of Christmas as Kane sees the same pictures in the book. He finishes by telling them, “we’ve seen seven disasters. When they end, we end, unless we can stop them”.
Kane, of course does exactly what bad guys like him always do, jump off the deep end and turn everything around to fit their own ideas of the truth. He looks at the next picture in the book and immediately comes up with his own solution to stopping the end of the world – human sacrifice. Yes Kane, that’s the ticket to redemption!
At this point, crazy Kane has lost it. He quotes revelations to become the brain-dead bible-thumper required to, yet again, show the audience how bad he is.
I find it curious how religious people are now portrayed as either nut jobs or misguided by their faith; or in this case, just plain evil, in today’s entertainment. No wonder sensible people keep their beliefs to themselves.
The Sheriff, another one of the sensible citizens, tells Joe to get his family out of the building. The crowd could easily turn into a mob at this point. Kane, angry that his target has left, takes his frustration out on the Sheriff, pushing him backwards.
The Sheriff accidentally cracks his head on the floor and dies. Now there is no one, except maybe the mayor, to stop him.
Speaking of Mayor Jude, he has just arrived in time to whisk Joe and Mary and kids away from the lunatic Kane.
They arrive at their home to gather supplies. Joe and Jacey get out of Judes SUV. It appears that Jude is now supposed to drive Mary and Peter to Grant’s cabin. They also now have walkie-talkies to communicate, courtesy of Jude.
Kooky Kane is on a religious mission now. He stands in front of the cross in the church, holding the ancient book, full of conviction that he has been called to do the Lords work. He believes that he has to go after Jacey and sacrifice her to stop the end of the world. The town people all go along like sheep.
Of course, Kane also enlists two goons to help him in his quest.
The next location for one of the rings is in an old abandoned mine. Fortunately there is no old abandoned miners to worry about, just unbalanced Kane, who is tipped off by Jude. Jude finds out what Joe and Jacey are up to through their conversations back and forth by walkie, and then takes on the role of turncoat informant for Kane.
At Grant’s cabin, Peter discovers that the 12 drummers are the twelve mountain peaks surrounding the town. They are in the middle of a ring of volcanoes. Mary decides they need to warn Peter’s father, Joe, but they cannot find the walkie. Jude has it. Hey Jude, don’t make it bad, give the walkie back, and you can start to make it better. He is not listening. In fact, he insists on waving a shotgun at Peter and Mary, clearly buying into Kane the wonder nut’s ideas.
Joe and Jacey are back at the entrance of the mine with the newest ring, when they come face to face with insane Kane. “Don’t make me shoot you. I understand why you are doing what you are doing, but my way is the only chance we have”. Joe tries to reason with Kane by telling his they have found another ring. Kane simply demands the ring and Jacey. There is a scuffle and the two bad guys get enveloped by some sort of red mist and melt into mud or dirt, or something along those lines.
Joe gets his first opportunity to beat up Kane. Unfortunately, Kane gets the gun and the upper hand and Joe is left to deal with the red mist.
Once out of the mine, Kane forces Jacey to take a truck ride with him in search of the last two rings, while Jude ties up Mary and Peter. As they are driving, Jacey realizes something and tells Kane to stop.
Once he does, she tells him they have to go back for the ring, Kane replies he has the ring and shows it to her. “That’s not the ring, that’s my dad’s wedding ring.” It is fun to watch Kane have a meltdown and become even more unglued.
Joe has found a place to avoid the mist. He walks out of the mine and immediately uses a walkie to contact Kane. Since Jude, Mary and Peter are listening on another walkie, everyone now knows that Joe is still alive. There is much rejoicing everywhere, well, as much as possible in their current situations.
Naturally, Kane is full of threats – the usual, “you better not try anything”, nonsense. Joseph just looks long suffering. He is obviously the head of the only sane family in Calvary.
At the construction site, where cuckoo Kane has demanded they meet, Joe waits for him. At this point, it looks like Kane has all the cards. Joe puts the compass and the ring on the ground and backs away.
As Kane reaches for the two items, Joe pulls a rope that drops a heavy piece of equipment onto Kane. It is lights out for the man who’s elevator does not reach the top floor.
There is another earthquake. At the cabin, Jude has had enough. He unties Mary and Peter, expecting to take them with him. Peter has other ideas. He finds a piece of wood and bashes Jude with it a few times. This just slows him down.
He races out of the cabin with sparks flying everywhere from the lights and electrical outlets. He is no safer outside. The Christmas lights get him and he gets electrocuted. He also explodes, but we will not go there… yet!
In Kane’s vehicle, Jacey frets over losing the compass to an electrical surge in one of the light stands. However, Joe managed to retrieve the third ring, and with Jacey’s ability to sense the rings when she is near them, they do not really need the compass. It is at about that point when Jacey remembers her experience at the Christmas tree lot.
Two things happen at about the same time – Kane wakes up and Joe and Jacey find another ring. That is when the 12 mountain peaks begin to erupt. Mary and Peter have found their way to a ranger station where Mary has located another walkie. She immediately gets in touch with Joe.
Guess who is also listening. That’s right; demented Kane. He overhears that Joe and Jacey are headed back to the same place they were rock climbing at the beginning of the movie. They are also now in the same location that is beginning to erupt.
Taking a brief break in their hike up the mountain, Joe tells Jacey he is proud of her. As he speaks, he gets shot from behind. Guess who. Joe and Kane end up fighting one another with steam vent explosions all around them. Joe gets lucky while Kane does not as the bad guy ends up on top of a vent as it blows. Poof, no more crazy Kane!
Jacey manages the rest of the trek on her own while her father is fighting Kane. With Kane defeated and finally gone forever, Joe makes it up the mountain, with a bullet hole through his shoulder and joins his daughter at the top.
Jacey locates the last ring. As she puts it on, a flash of fire engulfs her. The fire forms a pillar that rushes into the sky and all the disasters stop. The fiery pillar vanishes as fast as it came. Jacey falls to the ground, exhausted, but safe.
Shortly thereafter, the family is reunited and Peter is very impressed that his father got shot in the shoulder. The icing on the cake is that Sheeba the dog decided to come home.
To me, a disaster creates collateral damage, such as destroyed homes and widespread death.
Red goop coming out of the water pipes for a short while is not really a qualified disaster. It is an inconvenience at best.
As well, the name of the town in this film is Calvary, better known as the hill on which Jesus was crucified. I suppose that Bethlehem would have been too over the top to be used as the name of the town in this enjoyable and fun tongue in cheek movie.
It might also be relevant to mention that when someone is electrocuted by Christmas lights, people rarely explode.
Just an observation.
The best aspects of this film were, of course, the very talented actors chosen for the roles. Donnelly Rhodes has such a long lineup of successful acting credits, his list is longer than Santa’s Naughty list. Christine Willes, who played the grandmother, Miriam, has been in X-Files, Dead Like Me and Smallville.
Ed Quinn is not only known for his stints on Eureka and True Blood, but is an accomplished musician and singer. Roark Critchlow (Kane), Greg Kean (Sheriff) and Andrew Airlie (Jude) also have long lists of acting credits in Canadian and U.S funded productions. Holly Elissa (Mary) is another familiar face on Sci-fi productions with credits on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis as well as Fringe, Supernatural and Eureka.
Even the younger members of this cast like gifted Magda Apanowicz and Brenna O’Brien have a good sized list of credits behind them. Therefore, our kudos to Colleen Bolton and Penny Perry who cast the talented actors in 12 Disasters of Christmas!
Also impressive were the special effects. Francois Latremoille is the Visual Effects Supervisor. He has been responsible for many SyFy Movies, thus demonstrating his capacity to ensure the realistic look of the twelve disasters.
Is this movie worth watching? We think so. So did over 2.1 million viewers on the premiere night, making 12 Disasters of Christmas one of the most watched films that SyFy has broadcast produced this year.
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