Deadly Games Poster

Deadly Games (1989)

Action | Horror | Thriller
Rayting:   6.4/10 1.8K votes
Country: France
Language: French
Release date: January 17, 1990

On Christmas Eve, a resourceful young boy has to defend himself and his grandfather from a killer dressed as Santa Claus.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

mmillington554 2 January 2021

Best Christmas Santa film I've ever seen. Better than anything that Hollywood has produced on the Christmas theme.

max4movie 10 March 2018

3615 code Père Noël is basically a horror/action movie revolving around a young boy who needs to defend his home against an ongoing home invasion. The movie features very graphic violence and due to its over-the-top presentation of action scenes and suspenseful moments, it is not recommended for children. However, the premise is greatly constructed and believably executed, making this movie a highlight of seasonal horror/action movies.

Overall 7/10 Full review on

urthpainter 27 December 2018

No matter what story one believes - Game Over released in 1989, a year before Home Alone. The resemblance of the movies is not only striking, it becomes difficult to believe that John Hughes didn't use this film as inspiration for his classic Christmas tale. He claimed he came up with the idea (a year before) while on a European family vacation. Hmmm.... pretty interesting that this film released, in Europe, a year before Home Alone. The timeline may in fact be too tight for this to even be logically possible, so I'm not completely ruling out coincidence.

How about this movie? It's a more mature Home Alone, with an early 80's action movie look. The setting and characters are (mostly) contrived, and to buy in the viewer has to suspend a lot of disbelief. A family mansion (the main location) has this absurd, mouse trap, set up due to a brilliant child's handy work. It helps his folks are/were ultra rich toy manufacturers - flooding their child with toys and gizmos, while also allowing free reign of home modifications.

The one character who really stands apart from the others is the villain. He's portrayed as a truly mentally damaged individual, who seems to have good intentions, but due to his outcast nature, is never accepted, and feels compelled to do dark things. But even at the villains worst, his character has real humanity that makes his journey in this film, quite tragic. Never quite so much that your rooting interest changes from protagonist to antagonist - but by the end, I saw him as a complex/tragic character, not a single dimensional killer.

Which is a very odd mix of content in a movie that clearly has funny moments, and is built on entertainment.

I wouldn't consider this a Christmas film in any sense other than the films setting. The time of year is a backdrop for the events, and really the film does little to embellish, or critique the holidays. I would also consider this a flaw of the film, where all aspects should serve the story completely.

Game Over may be worth finding and watching for fans of 80's action movies and maybe if your interested in seeing a more mature version of Home Alone. But big fans of Home Alone (I suspect) would not be to high on this movie. Why? It does not have the light feel, humor, or clean Hollywood production values.

a slightly above average film, but marked up to a 7/10 due to it's unique nature.

one last note: I always hope a film maker like this takes off after a film like this, but it wasn't the case. At best Rene Manzor has continued to work, but there appears to be no continuation of this films inspiration or vision. I'm just disappointed this film maker doesn't have a few more outlandish films made after this one. This movie should have informed producers of this guys clear ability as director.

TwistedContent 30 December 2020

This quite recently newly unearthed holiday fun has many names, "Game Over", "Deadly Games", "Dial Code Santa Claus", "36:15 Code Father Christmas", but there ain't many doubts about being a stylish, hearty and odd little French adventure. And yes, the blueprint of "Home Alone", which came out a year later, is indeed about the same, but there are plenty of plot, genre and tonal differences.

Playful, resourceful, smart and full-of-wonder Thomas loves to play Rambo at home, and to take care and play with his close-to-heart grandpa, or Papy. It is Christmas day, and Thomas's mom has gone to work at the mall, where a creepy, mysterious bearded man, who seemingly just wants some love, is scaring kids as an impostor mall Santa. When he is let go, the certifiable killer nature of Santa clashes out at Thomas and his grandpa, and all three are now locked in a game of survival...

The beginning of the movie got me excited, not so much Thomas and his action, but the look and performance of Patrick Floersheim as the Santa Claus, the man can be eerie and looks absolutely fabulous as a killer Santa later in the film, props to the costume designers and make-up department. Immediately I was excited for a great Villain character, so a little of my disappointment lies in the fact that "Game Over" relies a lot on action and dramatic, stylized sequences, offering absolutely no back-story for Santa, giving him no clear motivations, and very few speaking lines. Visually striking villain at all times, substantially - not so much.

That action though is pretty cool, especially given the fact that this is an indie of the 80's. In the matters of style, "Deadly Games" is almost an overkill, cinematography is varied (and with lots of tilted angles), editing is pretty neat and energetic, almost as energetic as the synth orchestra soundtrack. Atmospherically and visually "Game Over" also reminded me of "The Crow", weird, I know, but not because of any substance, but the sets. Most of this film takes place in a mansion that from outside looks like Dracula's castle, and inside has half-vintage-like interior, big, dark spaces, etc., the set design really got me reminiscing on "The Crow". A gothic sort of vibe.

Thomas is a good kid, a sympathetic kid, and together with Papy they are the heart of this movie, so both the good and the evil in "Deadly Games" entertains and amuses, and brings solid acting to the table. The biggest flaws are still in the story, it plays out the first way one can imagine, not a lot of surprises. No extra story thread was worked on. The other flaw, and a plus at the same time, is action, it's funny because I said the film relies on it a lot, but here comes in the dramatic flair of these filmmakers... Plenty of action sequences are short and sweet in the core idea, but made longer and way dramatic frequently, slow-mo's, epic music, dramatic eye close-up and so forth. In the end it feels like an amazing looking sandwich lacking just a little filler.

"Game Over" is definitely a seasonal horror (perhaps less horror than You expect) to check out, killer Santa ticks the box big time, and the rest is up to You to check out. "Home Alone" can do without its tenth re-watch. My rating: 6/10.

lathe-of-heaven 31 December 2020

I usually don't go to the trouble to write negative reviews, but when I saw the generous rating here and how many have given it fairly positive reviews, FWIW, I just had to leave my thoughts here about this film.

First off, like I mention in my title above, I really did think the idea was great and I truly thought the first 1/2 of the movie was very good in setting up the home and atmosphere which I felt were done very well. BUT... I don't know what the director was smok'n, seriously, but once the 'action' got going I honestly thought it was handled very, very poorly. The pacing was WAY off and dragged at the oddest moments right at the places when the audience is quite understandably expecting some kick@ss action. I mean, not to spoil anything, but one tense moment they stop the action cold and the boy suddenly starts crying for his Mom for a number of minutes (What...??!) And then, again right in the midst of the all the pandemonium they stop the action dead again and play this 5 minute Christmas song...

Some of the action 'gags' were good, but the way they were very sloppily executed and with really odd, long, slow-motion pauses, dragging out what should have been quick and deadly I thought took all the suspense right out of it. For a movie with this type of theme (yes, think 'HOME ALONE') you get NONE of the quick excitement or action or cleverness that you would expect.

Honestly, I was completely puzzled by the approach of the movie makers. I mean, at least to me, it seemed like any chance they had to 'crank up the action', they did almost everything possible to deflate it...

Just a very, very odd film. Like I say, great premise, nice layout and settings, and in my lowly and wretched opinion, any suspense or true excitement is completely and totally ruined by the way the 2nd half of the movie was done.

I gave it a '5' due to the nice atmosphere and the neat home and the (at times) excellent soundtrack. However, I really felt let down 'Bigly' on this one. A real shame too, because if it had just been done better, I'm sure it would have been a very fun and entertaining movie, but alas, I honestly don't think so...

Watch the excellent and far better film 'THE AGGRESSION SCALE' (2012) which is quizzically rated lower than this one, but I gave it an '8', for a much better and more entertaining ride... (It also stars the rarely seen Dana Ashbrook from 'Twin Peaks' in an excellent role)

meddlecore 24 November 2020

This is a Christmas cult classic.

Notable for being the film that did the Home Alone thing the year before Home Alone was released.

In fact, it's really hard to believe that this film didn't influence the blockbuster hit...because it's really quite similar...yet, much more violent.

In it, a young phenom, named Thomas, is the son of the heir to a toymaker's fortune.

He's a bit of a computer wizard...having personally designed his own apple watch like thing...with full internet of things 19-frigging-89.

Oh, and he lives in a castle.

While only 11 years old, Thomas has above average intelligence, but he still believes in Santa.

His mother is always working, so Thomas is left to play and tinker around with his grandfather- who is diabetic and starting to go blind.

To prove his friend Pilon wrong, Thomas plans to capture Santa in one of the booby traps he has set up in his home- which is filled with secret doors, hidden rooms, and even a labyrinth.

But his mom tells him, that if he waits up for Santa...Santa will turn into an ogre and try to attack him.

Ignorant to the fact that one of her Santa employees has gone postal, after being rejected by a little girl, who he was trying to make smile.

This man wants revenge, so- after overhearing a conversation in the shipping department- he decides that he might as well take the oppourtunity to take it out on his tormenting her family.

When he gets to their house...he immediately kills their dog...right in front of young Thomas' eyes.

But Thomas has been training for this his whole life...and knows exactly what to do.

He protects his vulnerable grandpa..and manages to make it out of every close call...though not always unscathed.

As the rest of the people at his house get murdered by this psychotic Santa.

What ensues is a battle of perseverance, wit, and, perhaps, a little bit of luck.

The whole thing is way more heavy than Home Alone.

Being what Home Alone would have been if it were to have been made as a slasher film.

With a weird blend of children's horror and mildly gory slasher action.

That makes it one helluva cult gem.

7 out of 10.

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