This week’s episode takes a familiar concept–the murderous Santa–and runs with it, just like last week. It goes in more of a modern direction compared to last week though, which resurrected the drive-in theater.
This week, we dive in to the world of influencers and influencer houses. We meet a quartet of youngish dudes who live together in a sponsored house, the “Bro House.” Zinn (Nico Greetham), Wyatt (Charles Melton), and James (Dyllon Burnside) are the main attraction, while Barry (Kevin McHale) mostly handles the less glamorous aspects of their lifestyle–editing their videos, for instance. And it’s one of those videos that starts all the trouble for them.
Like other influencers, they have to keep raising the stakes. They can’t just do the same things they’ve done before, or they’ll lose subscribers. They won’t get those all-important views.
So, the group treks out to what looks like the LA River, to an overpass that’s known for suicides. They get lucky, if you can call it that, because a stranger does come along and jump. They film the whole thing. Against Barry’s objections, they decide to upload it. Zinn says it’s “an easy million subscribers.” Yeah, about that.
They premiere the video at a party at the Bro House. The reaction is immediate. People leave the party in droves and the Bros are excoriated online. They’ve got to do something fast, or they’re going to lose everything they’ve built, which is actually nothing, because it’s just influencer nonsense. It’s a house and cars they don’t own. It’s fake status. But it means something to them.
Zinn balks at making an apology video and instead, suggests they try gay-baiting by being “homiesexual.” Basically, they’ll be super-affectionate with one another, but just enough so that people know they’re not actually gay. Obviously, it’s the dumbest idea. Of course, that’s what they choose.
What does it mean in practice? Well, they tell each other how sexy they are when they’re lifting weights. By the pool, they slather each other in sunscreen. They cuddle up for movie nights (watching It’s a Wonderful Life) because “STRONG MEN ALSO CRY.”
Shockingly, none of this works. They keep hemorrhaging subscribers and cute girls mock them in public. They have maybe one last chance to turn this all around, so they decide to go back to what used to work. When they first started becoming popular on social media, it was because they’d do silly pranks, like “trying to fly out of LAX in our underwear.” They weren’t trying to do anything more complex than be funny and have fun.
Since it’s almost Christmas, they head to the mall, where they expect many people to be. That’s also where they crash the Santa visit pop-up with disastrous results. Maybe they were just cheeky boys once upon a time, but they’re full-on assholes now, especially Zinn and Wyatt. They sexually harass one of Santa’s helpers, for instance, while bullying another. Zinn announces to the children waiting in line that Santa isn’t real. And for his final trick, he twerks at Santa (Danny Trejo), who knocks him to the ground before telling him that he’ll “get what [he] deserves.”
Predictably, once their mall exploits hit the web, it only gets worse for them. But they’re still not at rock-bottom. There’s still further to go, like, say, a homicidal Santa Claus on their trail. They find out about that, kinda, when a police detective contacts them. She wants their video because the Santa they saw was not the real mall Santa. Whoever that was at the mall killed the guy who was supposed to be there, before assuming his job. Now Murder Santa is in the wind.
The boys, being massive ding-dongs, pretty much ignore the danger they’re in. Even when the killings begin, they think it’s just a prank, bro. And that’s the effect it has on their audience–when Barry desperately tries to get help, by commenting on their channel, people think he’s just joking around.
There’s some side information about the “true history” of Santa Claus, but it’s just a blip in the gore. The mysterious Murder Santa easily dispatches the boys, before disappearing into the night. He does take the time to decorate a tree with their limbs, though. Gotta have that Christmas cheer.
7.5/10 – I liked the ambition in this story–blending our new reality with a classic horror trope–but the stories ultimately didn’t blend together as well as they could. They felt like two stories grafted together, and way too much time was spent with the influencer d-bags when I would have liked more lead-up to Santa’s visit.