Our newest writer, Raul turns in a review and brief overview of the new horror anthology, Holidays.
|I just love Justin Bieber.....|
when he's dead.
“Surviving them is hell”
The horror anthology film has been around for a long time; it started with Dead of Night (1945), running through the various films released by British Hammer Film Productions and Amicus Productions during the 1960’s and 1970’s, followed by a string of U.S. releases during the 1980’s including Creepshow (1982) and Twilight Zone (1983). The horror anthology has made somewhat of a comeback with the recent ABCs of Death and the V/H/S films. Holiday themed horror films have also been around as well, with movies such as Halloween, Trick or Treat, April Fool’s Day, My Bloody Valentine, and Silent Night, Deadly Night. So it should be no surprise that eventually there would be a holiday themed horror anthology film.
I was not quite sure what to expect because generally the anthology films have been weak. However, this one is pretty good and delivers at least a few unforgettable stories. There are eight stories directed by eight different directors, with each segment somehow involving Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve. The opening theme music was great. It sounded like a classic gothic John Carpenter theme. The scoring in each episode is extremely well done.
The Valentine’s Day story was directed by Dennis Widmyer and Scott Stewart and deals with teens in high school, taking a somewhat similar story like Carrie and flipping it around. This was a great story and while I found it to be somewhat predictable, it still has to be one of the best episodes in the film. It had some really nice shots throughout, a decent score, and nicely mixed hilarious moments with brutal tones. It’s a story that everyone can relate to and there's one excellent camera shot that displays irony within the situation.
The St. Patrick’s Day bit was directed by Gary Shore and is a slow burn. It builds up its level of creepiness. There are children involved in this story, which can makes things even more weird and scary. The editing at times is very fast paced like an Edgar Wright film. There are definitely some really messed up and shocking scenes in this episode that I cannot find a good comparison to, maybe like the Italian horror film Sheitan (2006).
|Look at me.|
I'm smeared in poo.
The Easter chapter was directed by Nicholas McCarthy and had a great story, good music, and excellent practical special effects. This will go down as a pretty memorable episode and it may actually anger people that are religious.
The Mother’s Day story was directed by Sarah Adina Smith and is somewhat trippy and reminiscent of the old witch movies that are from the 1970’s. Unfortunately, this one is slow moving and is probably the weakest of all of the episodes.
The Father’s Day arc was directed by Anthony Scott Burns and was an intense story that does well at building tension and moving slowly to the final reveal. The director made great use of extreme close ups and editing to help build the tension, with one intense slow panning sequence in the episode. The actress in the story was really good and believable and there was also great sound and editing in the whole story. This is by far one of the best episodes in this anthology. It sucked me in from the beginning and I was totally engaged.
The Christmas Story was directed by Scott Stewart and involves what happens during the merriest of seasons, when people are trying to get that one gift that is hard to find. It stars Seth Green and it is an amusing take on that concept that turns dark and violent.
|I'm a little ginger bastard. Hear me roar.|
The Halloween episode was directed by Kevin Smith and as always, you should be able to tell that you’re watching something that Smith has written and directed. The story is basically a screwed up 9 to 5 with some funny dialogue and an amusing and mean male character. It's a crazy situation and is totally hilarious and continues to get dark throughout the story. With a great story, dialogue, editing, and direction this is one of the best episodes in this anthology, and will be one that is not forgotten.
The New Year’s Story was directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer and is a pretty amusing and dark story. The main male and female lead characters are both good in it and are both creepy and weird in their own ways. The story is super violent and gory and even though I thought it was predictable, I still thought that it kicked some major butt.
I highly recommend this to fans of anthologies and the horror genre as well; I think this one is going to have some staying power. If not, it could become a modern cult classic.
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"IMDB," IMDB, 15 4 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4419364/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1. [Accessed 15 4 2016].