Thursday, October 20, 2016

Halloween Movie Review #20: "Holidays" (2016)

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Movie"Holidays"
Director: Various
Year: 2016
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

An anthology of short horror films, each focusing on a specific holiday throughout the year. 


Halloween is usually the one specific holiday associated with the horror genre. "Holidays," however, brings this horror to every holiday of the year through a series of short films, each written and directed by different people.

It starts with Valentine's Day, written and directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. It revolves around a bullied girl's obsessive love for her swim coach. We enjoyed this segment as the bullied girl takes her coach's concern for her being bullied as a sign of affection. The tormenting builds to a head where revenge and a sign of love all happen in one grotesque climax.

From there, we move to the Saint Patrick's Day segment, written and directed by Gary Shore. It combines a teacher's dream of being a mother with some Celtic witchcraft and the legend of Saint Patrick into a weird, slow burning horror. There is some creepy tension throughout this short that culminates in a bizarre finale. This short won't be for everyone, but we sort of enjoyed its interesting take on the holiday.

Next up is Easter, written and directed by Nicolas McCarthy. This story tries to reconcile a little girl's question regarding what rabbits and eggs have to do with the resurrection of Christ. Rather than the simple explanation of Pagan vs.Christian tradition, we get a weirdly disturbing amalgam of the Christ Bunny, which we had hope for but weren't really sure we were going to ever see appear on screen. The visually unsettling nature of this short made it one of our favorites.

We then move to the Mother's Day short, written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith. This film revolves around a young woman who gets pregnant every time she has sex, regardless of whether or not she and her partner use a condom or other birth control. Because of this, she has had quite a few abortions. This woman is then lured to a retreat for women with fertility issues, who then kidnap her as their surrogate. We weren't big fans of this segment. It's pretty expected and not very entertaining or horrific.

We go from Mother's Day right to Father's Day in a segment written and directed by Anthony Scott Burns. A woman finds a recording from her estranged father explaining why he disappeared. This short is a bit of a mystery and tries to play up the slow burning psychological aspect, but it doesn't have much of a payoff. This short had a lot of promise, but is honestly kind of dull.

Next, we jump all the way down to Halloween, the holiday most associated with horror. This segment is written and directed by Kevin Smith and revolves around a group of phone sex workers who take revenge on their sexually abusive boss. This is a fun segment that has a payoff fitting of his crime. Kevin Smith seems to be getting more messed up as his career progresses, and this short film is no different.

From there, we move onto Christmas in a short written and directed by Scott Stewart. It stars Seth Green as a father who wants to get his son a great gift and does the unthinkable to get it. He is then haunted by his actions, but this short has a twist or two before it finishes. Overall, this segment was just okay and it could have been way more powerful than it was.

The final short is all about New Years Eve, which is written by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and is directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer. This segment tells the story of a serial killer who uses dating websites to find his victims. His latest date is almost a perfect match on the website. Maybe this killer will find love, maybe he will find more victims, or maybe he will meet a woman that is more than he can handle. This segment is entertaining in a twisted sort of way, and anyone who has seen it knows they're pretty messed up for enjoying it.

In the end, when you have an anthology of shorts, the entire series can be greatly marred by its weakest links, and that's what unfortunately happens in "Holidays." There are some well done segments, but the bad ones are a real struggle to get through. Try and seek the good ones out individually if you can.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 52%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
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One year ago, we were being scared by: "Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers"

Two years ago, we were being scared by: "I Drink Your Blood"

Three years ago, we were being scared by: "Final Destination"

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