HOLIDAYS (2016) Film Review from the 15th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, a movie directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer, Gary Shore, Nicholas McCarthy, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Smith, Scott Stewart, and Adam Egypt Mortimer.
Horror anthologies have recently made a comeback in cinemas and as become a hit for fans with films like Trick ‘r’ Treat, V/H/S, and The ABCs of Death. The latest entry in this genre, Holidays, mixes in horror with our favorite holidays to give us some twisted stories made from some visionary directors in this collection of shorts. Despite each of these films being displayed as parodies, these nine directors manage to tap into the strange and abnormal as they reveal the foundation of every holiday and showcase a sinister look at each one throughout the calendar year.
The first film ‘Give Me Your Heart’ from directing duo Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer tackles on Valentine’s Day with a dark and gory tale of high school crush’s and the lengths that a student will go to gain their first love’s attention. Maxine (Madeleine Coghlan) has a crush on her diving coach (Rick Peters), but the mean girls on her team constantly bully her. Maxine soon gets even with the leader of the group and tries to please her coach in this disturbingly beautiful rom-com that has some great throwbacks to the 80s.
Things get stranger in this next short from Gary Shore called ‘Happy St. Patrick’s Day’. The film takes use of the Irish holiday and gives us a creepy story of motherhood and some cult magic in the mix. It tells the story of Elizabeth Cullen (Ruth Bradley), a child-depraved teacher who’s wish of having a baby is fulfilled by a strange student. What transpires is a Celtic story with weird elements. The film definitely draws some inspiration from Rosemary’s Baby but it comes off a bit goofy than scary in most parts.
Another gem comes in the form of Nicholas McCarthy’s ‘Easter’. A little girl heads to bed in the night before Easter, but she gets nervous and afraid of the stories about a bunny that leaves candy-filled eggs during the night. Her mother tries to calm her down and complicates things further by bringing up Christ’s resurrection. McCarthy brings a story that is an oddly terrifying mix of two different holiday symbols that comes out as frightening, hilarious, and profane with some grotesque make-up effects.
The struggles of fertility return in ‘Mother’s Day’, a maternal tale by Sarah Adina Smith. The film follows Kate (Sophie Traub), a woman who constantly gets pregnant every time she has sex and has no way to prevent it from happening. Her doctor recommends her to visit her sister at a retreat in the middle of a desert. This retreat turns out to be more than what it turns out to be as these women form some strange rituals around Kate to bring in something sinister. The film relies heavily in witchcraft lore, but it tends to be creative in its story with a scary surprise in the end.
Next up is ‘Father’s Day’, which may be the strongest piece in the anthology. Made by horror visual artist Anthony Scott Burns, the film follows Carol (Jocelin Donahue), who gets a strange tape from her father who she thought was dead. It contains a message from him the leads her down a dangerous path to a mysterious ghost town. Her journey following her father’s directions leads her to some startling discoveries right at the end, and the truth sticks with you after the film’s conclusion.
The following segment ‘Halloween’ gives a whole new meaning to revenge and feminism. This feature is about a trio of cam-girls who get even with their mean prick of a boss (Harley Morenstein) during Halloween night. This short brings the concept of torture porn to another level of insanity. It’s one of Kevin Smith’s scarier outings coming along the same tone and style as his recent films Tusk and Yoga Hosers. Smith delivered in this great sexually aggressive tale of revenge.
Technology takes a dark turn in this next segment ‘Christmas’ by Scott Stewart. Seth Green plays a desperate father who makes a life-changing choice in order to get his son a VR for the big holiday. The headset brings in some visions of his past actions when he starts using it. It’s a film that doesn’t take the horror route, but it gets twisted with every scene. The ending does ruin what is otherwise an intriguing premise, but overall, it does make us think of the horrors of technology as it continuously evolves.
Last but not least, ‘New Years’ rounds out the anthology film with a slasher short by Adam Egypt Mortimer. The film stars Lorenza Izzo as a lonely woman on New Year’s Eve who goes on an online date with an awkward but friendly guy who turns out to be a murderer. The short does provide a great twist that fans of the slasher genre may really enjoy. Izzo steals the show with her performance and provides a nice spin on the holiday in this digital age.
Overall, Holidays offers a nice assortment of films to check out for any horror enthusiast. It really brings some great talented filmmakers together to make these scary yet funny takes on our favorite holidays. We get some old school horror flicks that also cater to the modern audience. The anthology format really makes this genre enjoyable to horror fans, and Holidays continues that trend offering some hellish fun to the viewer. Some segments may feel nostalgic while others offer a new spin on some celebrations, but its executed well that leaves us wanting for more.
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