A failed attempt at having a Thanksgiving party at their crappy apartment is the least of their worries as both Caesar and Otto find themselves in another terrifying pickle from the fast approaching holidays. A maniacal Santa Claus is going around and hacking up all the people Caesar and Otto know. And if that wasn't bad enough, Otto finds himself in a mid-life crisis over a missed chance at love while Caesar has to deal with his own personal fears when he's booked to play as Santa at malls.
Dave Campfield and Paul Chomicki are back as Caesar and Otto and while they've left the summer camp behind, their unfortunate luck follows them to the Christmas season. Cue scary incidental music! "Caeser & Otto's Summer Camp Massacre" was released on DVD back in 2011 through Brain Damage but their holiday themed sequel, "Caesar & Otto's Deadly Xmas", was released late last year through Wild Eye Releasing. I never watched the original but it seemed like "Deadly Xmas" was designed as more of a stand alone film than a direct sequel. Which was a good thing for me because there is simply no way I could watch another one of these movies.
After a disastrous attempt at having Thanksgiving dinner at their crappy apartment, Caesar and Otto are left having to deal with the approaching Christmas season. For Otto, that means reflecting on his life and longing for his missed chance at love. For Caesar though, it becomes a living hell as his manager can only get him a gig as a mall Santa -- Caesar's worst nightmare. Both men will have to deal with their personal problems as well as a psychotic Santa Claus who uses their list of canceled Thanksgiving dinner guests as a chopping list!
I will be completely honest up front; I did not like "Caesar & Otto's Deadly Xmas" at all. I found little to no enjoyment in it and, quite frankly, had Wild Eye Releasing not sent us a screener, I would have never watched it. Only because these "Caesar & Otto" movies are the kind of movies where I can tell right away that they are not for me. With that being said, I did try to be as open and as accepting as I could with "Caesar & Otto's Deadly Xmas" but the comedy was a complete misfire when it came to my particular taste in humor.
And to be fair, comedy is undoubtedly one of the most subjective forms of entertainment that there is. So while I found the humor in "Caesar & Otto's Deadly Xmas" to be flat, juvenile and mostly idiotic, someone else could find this to be one of the funniest things that they've seen. I don't know how, but they could. Of course making that snarky little remark is nothing more than me being an elitist prick about my own opinion.
One thing that I did like about the comedy and the pairing of the characters is that, like others have commented before, Caesar and Otto are setup much in the style of Abbot and Costello. Which was interesting since you don't see comedic duos like that anymore. Just simple and horrible "buddy" movies. However, something that I felt that Campfield and Chomicki missed with their movie is that one of the characters needed to be the straight-man. Instead both Caesar and Otto are these ridiculous, over-the-top characters and it becomes too much very early on in the movie. And that's how the movie came off overall; it felt like it was just beating me over the head with every joke, gag, pun and stupid moment. Comedy is about timing and there is no timing here. The movie flies out of the starting gate and throws every kind of joke there is at the viewer. It seemed like "Caesar & Otto's Deadly Xmas" was throwing all the jokes they could hoping something would be funny or just trying to beat the viewer to the punchline. Either way, it didn't feel natural. It came across more like someone who believes they're funny trying really hard to prove they're funny.
The other thing that rubbed me the wrong with "Deadly Xmas" is that the writing for the overly convoluted plot came across as believing it was more clever than it actually was and was rather conceited too. Much like the comedy, they tried to do too much with the story. The reason Abbott and Costello were as good as they were in their time is because they took regular scenarios and spun them into such a ludicrous direction that you couldn't help but laugh and have fun. With "Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas", it would have worked fine had it been about the two characters having to deal with a killer Santa Claus. For some reason though, Campfield tossed in quite a few sub-plots into the mix. Too many to be exact. There's the big one with Otto finding his formal high school crush who also happens to be his one true love. That one sub-plot could have worked well in conjunction with the killer Santa storyline. But no, instead there is also a plot about a corporation (and their control over the holidays), a satanic cult and Caesar going from an aspiring actor to becoming a director for a low-budget horror movie. Any of these would have actually worked well as the b-story but we ended up with all of them when there was no need to have all of them in there. Especially since no time was devoted to each story to properly develop them.
I wouldn't say "Deadly Xmas" was badly written. Campfield seemed to do a relatively decent job bringing everything together and tying it up by the end. It was just too much. Especially when there is also the painfully obvious (attempts at) social satire that's laid on thick and the cringe inducing self-awareness of having Caesar direct a low-budget horror movie. It's those kind of moments where the movie came across with this bloated sense of self-importance. The jabs at low-budget horror movies seemed rather arrogant instead of having fun and ribbing those kind of movies. You know, the kind of movie that "Deadly Xmas" is. But instead there seemed to be an attitude that "Deadly Xmas" believes it is better than those sort of movies when that's not the case at all. And of course, the fact that "Deadly Xmas" was trying to say something in regards to the Christmas season, corporations, capitalism, etc. seemed like nothing more than the movie trying to prove that it's more sophisticated than other low-budget horror-comedies.
Like I said though, comedy is subjective and there will be those who completely disagree with me and think my issues with "Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas" are complete bullshit. Maybe. Maybe not. I think my criticisms of the movie are valid and I honestly tried to accept the movie for what it is but the comedy was mishandled and fell completely flat for me. It's something that I could have overlooked and acknowledged the good while ignoring the fact that the comedy didn't do anything for me. Then again, I wasn't able to find any redeeming qualities anywhere else in the movie either so I guess it doesn't matter. Regardless, where I feel the movie genuinely failed is when it decided to beat the viewer over the head with the comedy, doing too much -- of everything -- and coming off as arrogant in its delivery.
But I digress, my opinion in regards to "Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas" is just that: my opinion. It's also something that isn't needed because it is very apparent what kind of movie "Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas" is to a point that anyone can instantly tell if it's their kind of movie or not. It's one time in your life where your gut instincts will not misguide you on whether or not you should watch it.