Dial code Santa Claus
3615 code Pere Noel
Hide and Freak
Sometimes finding a foreign film can be quite challenging, especially one that hits such a niche market. But, with its reminiscence, so adjacent to a North American Christmas staple, Home Alone, you can’t go wrong in picking up a film with five different titles that originally created the same feel as McCauley Culkin being stalked and hunted by intruders with a John Wick-like story. What we have here is a young man, I’m very reluctant to call him a young boy because of how clearly mature and badass this guy is, but I digress. This young man must be around 10 years old and he goes by the name, Thomas de Frémont (Alain Lalanne). He lives in a secluded mansion somewhere in France with his widowed mother, Julie(Brigitte Fossey), his elderly grandfather, Papy (Louis Ducreux), and his beautiful dog J.R.
On Christmas Eve, Julie is working a late shift and is forced to leave Thomas in the care of his Papy overnight until Christmas morning. Thomas being an action movie nut and a young McGyver is not phased by this task at all and recognizes it as a time to have some fun. Young Thomas still believes in Santa Claus and decides that his mission for the night will be to track Santa down and capture him once and for all. Instead, who he ends up contacting decides to reverse the roll.
This film is the darker, edgier stepbrother to Home Alone, and Thomas de Fremont is legitimately dangerous. He sets traps with precise execution and there are no Three Stooges about it, he takes risks and protects the person he loves against this vile benevolent version of Santa Claus (Patrick Floersheim). Thomas obviously loves Papy, and their relationship throughout the entire film is what gives this film such high stakes and pacts it with an emotional punch. Just perfect for the Christmas season. Sometimes buying into Alain Lalanne’s performance is hard to do, I don’t personally know any kids like this but I can quickly convince myself that there are. But, hey, if we are buying into Kevin McAllister’s shenanigans just one year after the release of this film then why can’t we buy into Thomas de Fremont’s?
The performance from Patrick Floersheim is quite good, he portrays an emotionless psychopathic animal who is hell bent on destroying this family’s Christmas. After a shocking scene that sways this film into “hardcore” territory that perfectly illustrates how insane this man truly is. He conveys a lot of his emotions through superb facial expression, not in the Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 way…much better than that. The film is shot beautifully, the way the camera moves within the mansion, allowing us to feel like we know it just as well as Thomas does. Every nook and cranny, massive toy room, and exterior balcony. Deadly Games or one of the other four titles you wish to call it is a hidden gem that I only had the pleasure of seeing for the first time this Holiday season. It was a pleasant surprise that scratched both an emotional and adrenaline-fueled itch, I would highly recommend this film that you can find on Shudder at this very moment and is now sliding into my rotation of yearly Christmas classics.
Trivia: Writer/Director Rene Manzor once threatened with legal action against the creators of Home Alone due to allegations of plagiarism.