Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Holidays

"Holidays" (2016, Kevin Smith, Gary Shore, Adam Egypt Mortimer, Scott Stewart, Nicholas McCarthy, Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch, Sarah Adina Smith and Anthony Scott Burns, Distant Corners Entertainment, XYZ Films) is a horror anthology inspired by different well-known Western holidays and celebrations.

Valentine's Day
A bullied teenaged girl has a crush on her swim coach and decides to get him something gruesome to show her feelings...

The characters are quite well built up in this short with a fun, if slightly predictable end. But the run time is very short in order to fit in the whole calendar and so the short suffers a little by having to pack everything in quickly, losing some of the pacing.

St. Patrick's Day
A teacher tries to make a withdrawn new child come out of her shell. The child informs her that she will only smile when she makes the teacher's deepest wish come true and leaves a small snake emblem on the desk. Over time, the teacher's wish comes true, but maybe not the way she really wanted.

A short that has some really good, creepy elements and a lot of potential, but just didn't have much to do with St. Patrick's day (other than snakes) and managed to feel oddly longer than the other shorts. It didn't pack the punch that the plot deserved.

Easter
A little girl sneaks downstairs the night before Easter to catch the Easter Bunny delivering her eggs, only he is not what she anticipated, and there is a penalty for seeing him in the flesh...

Probably the most successful short of this anthology, the plot packs a nice punch but the small run time and budget also limit it.

Mother's Day
A woman who cannot stop becoming pregnant every time she has sex is taken hostage by a coven of women who cannot have children.

A pretty horrific premise, but the short was a bit artsy and dithery and then switched direction completely again.

Father's Day
A woman finds an old cassette tape from her deceased father and listens to it. The voice on the tape takes her down memory lane (he recorded it whilst out walking with her younger self years before) and then asks her to go to a special location to meet him...

A beautifully made short that came together into an emotive piece. However, the time limit again robbed the plot of the finale it deserved and made the rest of the build up seem wasted.

Halloween
A douchebag who runs a pay-per-view webcam porn site using ladies he's lied to as his cam stars meets his deserving demise at the hands of his victims. Oh, and it's also set on Halloween.

This is the Kevin Smith piece. I like Kevin Smith, but his work can be very hit or miss for me. This one was a miss. My main problem with it was that it had very little to do with Halloween; the most horror-centric holiday on the calendar and you take it to this generic, anytime of year gore-fest. Talk about wasted opportunity. The short also tried to be funny, and also be serious and didn't seem to know what it was.

Christmas
Seth Green and Clare Grant star in this virtual reality/jingle-all-the way inspired piece. A man goes to extremes to ensure he gets the latest gadget for his family's Christmas; a UVU virtual reality visor which shows you the real you. However, he and his family may not be too comfortable with their real selves, or each other's selves once they plug in...

A good concept with some good scenes that are again reminiscent of older festive films. Although it wasn't the most engaging short in the bunch, it did its job.

New Year's Eve
A serial girlfriend murderer sets out to welcome in the new year his way....

A good short with some gore and a nice twist. It rounded off the anthology on a high after some obvious lows.

This anthology is a mixed bag containing a lot of misses. There's no enveloping story which could have brought it together and each segment is very short (even by anthology standards) and has to round off quickly often taking away from each piece's story somewhat. Some segments are better than others, but certainly none jumped out enough at me to make me want to rewatch this film again. I think each director was trying too hard to make their segment the 'weirdest' of the bunch and many veered too far away from their core holiday, losing the point of the film.

There are better anthologies out there which make this one look like a film student's 2nd year project.


[Image: XYZ Films]
Hani