Friday, January 6, 2017
Holiday Horror: Holidays
* Valentine's Day
Maxine, AKA Maxie Pad by horrible bullies, is an introverted girl in love with her swim coach. Said horrible bullies make her life hell by constantly mocking her and even pushing her off the high dive. Maxine gets the last laugh as she exacts her revenge. This segment is a strong beginning for the anthology. It's gorgeous with bright, 80's neon colors and striking imagery including over the top reactions and slow motion reactions. The plot and style bring to mind other horror films like Carrie and The Craft. Maxine barely says anything, but manages to be a very sympathetic character. The ringleader bully could not be more odious, especially when she seems totally oblivious to the mental and emotional torture she inflicts. The gym teacher is frustrating, especially watching as a teacher, when he allows this extreme bullying to go on. The ending is too abrupt, but it's gratifying and gory.
* St. Patrick's Day
In Ireland, a young teacher tries to connect with a contrary red headed child named Grainne. Grainne gives the teacher her deepest wish for a baby, but with a dark twist. The teacher is so ernest and sweet that I don't want anything bad to happen to her. When the type of baby is revealed, it's a bit heavy handed, especially after all the spiral imagery to come before it. I loved the development of the story and the ending. The teacher decides to carry her baby as it is to term despite everyone urging otherwise, which is important as she exercising her bodily autonomy. Although the baby looks ridiculous, she loves it as it is and an enjoyable film. Grainne was amazing because she never said a word, but had very intense looks and a creepy as hell smile.
This segment addresses confusion with Jesus and the Easter bunny during Easter. A little girl asks her mother about it and receives a muddle response. Later that night, she catches a horrifying amalgam of these two figures in one: a bunny with a man's body, a crown of thorns, a gash in his side, and stigmata in his hands. The chilling ending brings up some questions about pushing faith onto children and the effects it might have on them. It's another wonderful performance by a child actor and a very creepy segment.
* Mother's Day
A woman terminated nearly 20 pregnancies and gets pregnant every time she has sex. Her doctor suggests she go to a fertility ceremony since modern medicine won't help. The woman decides to go and receives a chilly response since the rest of the women are struggling to conceive. The fertility group women kidnap her and force her to bring her pregnancy to term, keeping her docile with as much drugs as they can safely give her. The forced pregnancy is completely terrifying to me. The situation seems to be developing and then it ends abruptly and oddly. It has a lot in common with the St. Patrick's Day segment and seems odd to be in the same film.
* Father's Day
A young woman receives a tape from her dead father that leads her to find him again. She's elated that he's alive, but so angry at her mother for lying. The tape leads her to places she remembers from her childhood and even hears her younger self on the tape as her father walks the same route. This story keeps you guessing and builds tension right until the end. Unfortunately, the ending isn't as good as the build up and disappoints. Jocelin Donahue's emotional performance elevates the segment.
Shame on Kevin Smith. Halloween is such a cool holiday and it was wasted on this stupid and juvenile story. Cam girls are exploited by their director as he forces them to work on Halloween. The director really lays on the misogynistic comments thick. The women take revenge in a disgusting fashion that doesn't even make sense. The ending implies that they will continue on exploiting other cam girls, making this "empowering" story even more horrible and completely the opposite. I find it sad that his own daughter stars in the short. I will definitely examine future Kevin Smith films more closely if this is how he's going to write.
A pathetic father who waited until the last minute to buy the latest VR gadget for his son;s Christmas gift. The clerk gave the last item to another man, who has a heart attack just as he's getting into the car. Instead of helping the man get his dropped pills, he steals the gadget and goes home to his domineering, cold wife. The VR device shows the father more about himself and some shocking revelations about his wife. Seth Green is always awesome, but this character is such a spineless worm. The ending is very Tales from the Crypt, but is left open ended.
* New Year's Eve
On New Year's Eve, a serial killer finds a date and hopes this one will be different. His date is much more similar to him than he expected. The two major reveals were surprisingly gory. The serial killer is a little too over the top in comparison to his date, especially with his brown colored teeth. While this was kind of a weak one to end on, I enjoyed it.
After every segment, a beautiful card for each holiday is opened before the next one. It was a nice way to tie them all together. Overall, Holidays is pretty uneven and many of the segments had weak endings. Some had some interesting ideas, most notably Easter and Father's Day. I would recommend for a watch, but not enough for a repeated viewing.
My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins