31 October 2016 | BlueFairyBlog
Christmas Has Been Canceled
Using a celebratory holiday as the background for your horror film isn't a new technique. The most popular slasher film of all time is "Halloween," complete with trick or treaters and the teenaged screams of Jamie Lee Curtis. Many other lesser known, yet beloved, holiday features have been made, including "Santa's Slay," "New Year's Evil," and "ThanksKilling." In this vein comes a horror anthology film that celebrates the horror of the holiday season. The holidays in question include Father's Day, Mother's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, Halloween, New Year's Eve, Easter, and Valentine's Day.
Those who will enjoy this film must love the grotesque and the weird. None of these movies are especially scary, because that doesn't seem to be the aim for these newbie directors. Some of the vignettes are spooky, like "Father's Day," and most of them are downright weird, like "Easter," and "St. Patrick's Day," but if you're going in thinking that there will be an emphasis on jump scares and low budget thrills, you are mistaken. Honestly, I enjoyed the creepy, grim realities of these holidays, but these films don't take themselves too seriously and they revel in their campiness. If you love movies like "Black Christmas," and "Silent Night, Deadly Night," this is definitely going to make you feel nostalgic for the fun of seventies psychological faire and eighties slashers.
Though this is a film that I enjoyed, mostly for its unapologetic strangeness, it is not a good anthology. Some of these entries are so underwhelming, not only because they don't scare but because they don't know how to end. "Mother's Day," is an entry with an especially strong start a la "Rosemary's Baby," and then stumbles around until it ends predictably. "St. Patrick's Day," has, literally, the exact same themes, but ends in a comical (?) farce of Irish lore. Kevin Smith, the only large name attributed to this film, has an entry that stars his teenaged daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, as a cam worker bent on revenge on her pervy, rapist of a boss (played by Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time internet fame.)
Anthology horror films are rarely good, but they act positively as a space for filmmakers to take a small amount of time to try and create the next great horror fiction. Horror is so often drawn out and ruined via contrived plots and repeat sequels, and seeing a simple idea condensed down can be its own reward. While there' definitely some uncomfortably terrible entries in this anthology, there are some particularly potential gems as well.