Holidays (2016) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Holidays (2016)

Film: There’s two things that horror movies do better than other genres of films: anthologies, and films commemorating special holidays… yes, New Years Evil is much better than News Year’s Day, by about a million times.

This is very much a modern anthology tale though, and sits more amongst the V/H/S and ABCs of Death-styled films rather than something like Creepshow or John Carpenter’s Bodybags. The difference, to me, being that older anthologies have a sense of fun, and are far more in tune with comics like Tales of the Crypt, and have an almost ironic comical resolution to each tale. These newer ones can have endings like that, but they are far darker, and the resolutions far more horrible and the irony rarely amusing.

There’s a great mix of creators in this movie though: Anthony Scott Burns ( who worked on visual effects on The Last Exorcism Part II), Kevin Kolsch (director of Starry Eyes), Nicholas McCarthy (director of The Pact), Adam Egypt Mortimer (director of Some Kind of Hate), composer Ellen Reid, Gary Shore (director of Dracula Untold), Kevin Smith (c’mon, you know who Kevin Smith is!), Sarah Adina Smith (writer of The Midnight Swim), Scott Stewart (director of Priest) and Dennis Widmyer (writer of Starry Eyes).

Holidays asks us to celebrate 8 occasions with it:

The Valentine’s Day story tells of a teenage girl with self-harm issues who seems to be entering into a relationship with her coach, and who has been a victim of bullying, and maybe self-harm is no longer her objective…

St Patrick’s Day explores a young school girl who is encountering difficulties in starting at a new school, and her teacher who is experiencing a strange pregnancy that the young girl seems to be aware of…

The Easter tale looks at the confusion a child can experience with the celebration, which incorporates Jesus’ resurrection and the legend of the Easter Bunny, but maybe it’s not her that’s confused.. maybe it’s the rest of us… maybe the story of Christ and that if the Easter Bunny and horribly intertwined…

Mother’s Day explores the life of a woman who gets pregnant every time she has sex, and how a doctor advises her to meet her sister, who runs a weekend retreat for women who can’t get pregnant… but maybe the women have more serious intentions for her…

Father’s Day has a young woman receive a tape recorder which contains a message from her estranged father, who asks her to meet her at a place they once went together. The woman is upset as her mother had previously told her that her father was dead… was she lying..?

Halloween tells the tale of three girls who work for a ‘girly’ webcam site who decide maybe this isn’t where there future lies…

Christmas sees a man desperate to get a particular gift for his child, and goes to deadly extremes to get it. The gift, a VR headset, may know the man’s dirtiest secrets though…

New Years Eve is the culmination of the tales, and we visit a murderer who has a thing for teeth, and wants to meet a new girl to kiss at midnight, but the girl he meets is much more than she seems…

Having a variety of writers and directors obviously makes for a somewhat uneven mix of story quality, but they do all entertain. Each story has a very small pool of talent but they are mostly fully engaged in the story which makes them even more unsettling. The poorest of the stories is Kevin Smith’s as even when being dark, it’s still sophomoric, and the acting in it is clearly less than the rest of the tales. That’s not to say it’s awful, it’s just the lesser of all the shorts on this disc.

The more I muse on this film, the more I am impressed with the variety of writers and directors managing to make a film cohesive even above and beyond the similar theme. Best thing is, you don’t have to wait until Halloween or Friday the 13th or Valentine’s Day to watch it!

Score: ****

Format: This region B, Australian bluray of this film runs for approximately 105 minutes. The film is presented in 2.35:1 and with a Dolby DTS-HD 5.1 audio, both of which are great

Score: *****

Extras: Not a brass razoo.

Score: 0

WISIA: It’s a fun mix of shorts, yeah it’ll be watched again.

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