Various directors, writers and actors come together to deliver Holidays; a horror anthology that covers Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
I had to think for a while about how to review this as it’s technically 8 short films rather than 1 single film so I have decided to give a brief account of my thoughts of each of them separately and this site is clever enough to average them all out at the end.
This one is written and directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. The focus is on a young girl named Max (Madeleine Coghlan) who has a crush on her swimming teacher (Rick Peters). He is having heart problems and is running out of time to find a donor to save his life.
Valentine’s Day is one of the strongest of the bunch with an amusingly creepy yet sympathetic performance from Coghlan. It has a nice sense of pace to it and the ending fits the overall tone of the story.
St. Patrick’s Day
Written and directed by Gary Shore; this story is about a teacher (Ruth Bradley) who wants a child and eventually gets impregnated with the help of an unsettling little girl (Isolt McCaffrey).
It’s a really strange story that is somewhat wonderful in its insanity. McCaffrey is note perfect as the creepy little girl. There’s something about endlessly smiling little girls that manages to both amuse and terrify at the same time. Like Valentine’s Day it’s pretty well paced and the payoff is amusing.
Written & directed by Nicholas McCarthy; a little girl (Ava Acres) is afraid of the Easter Bunny and struggles to sleep the night before Easter because of her fear.
This is the most bizarre one but I was completely on board with how off the wall it was. It boasts some great make-up effects and fully commits to its insane premise in a way that can’t help but be entertaining.
Written & directed by Sarah Adina Smith; a woman (Sophie Traub) can’t stop herself getting pregnant so heads to a retreat where she believes that help can be found.
The weakest of the bunch on almost every level. The characters weren’t engaging and the story was incredibly dull so I was unable to connect with the premise in any way. It’s mercifully short lived but feels a lot longer than it is.
Written and directed by Anthony Scott Burns; Carol (Jocelin Donahue) receives a tape that gives her information on her long lost father that she pursues relentlessly.
By far the strongest story. It is the only one that doesn’t try to play the premise for laughs in any way and comes across as a really unsettling and creepy experience as a result. Donahue delivers a wonderfully sympathetic performance and the narrative builds intensity before a satisfyingly ambiguous conclusion.
Written and directed by Kevin Smith; Ian (Harley Morenstein) is a man who keeps women hostage for a webcam service until they decide to turn against him and make him pay for everything he has done.
In general it’s a really funny short while also being a little sickening. The idea of such a horrible human being receiving some well deserved punishment is a fun one and all of the actors perform their roles nicely. Nothing about it is especially noteworthy but it’s presented in a way that works.
Written and directed by Scott Stewart; a man (Seth Green) makes a really selfish decision when trying to get the perfect Christmas gift and is plagued by guilt when what he did threatens to come out.
This one is fairly disposable. Seth Green is good in the role and the premise is a fun one but it isn’t explored as well as it could have been. There was lots of potential for better jokes that wasn’t taken advantage of. It’s fine but weaker than some of the others
New Year’s Day
Written by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer; directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer; Reggie (Andrew Bowen) is a serial killer who likes to pick his victims on dating sites but gets more than he bargained for when he finds a like minded partner (Megan Duffy) who gives him a taste of his own medicine.
Another disposable one. It starts off looking like a fun idea where a deranged man gets what’s coming to him but beyond the violence on display there’s not a lot to recommend. Something as off the wall as this could have been so much better.
A solid collection of shorts with some coming off better than others. The idea of using big holidays as the backdrop for these small stories was a good one but some are lacking in the execution.
- inventive short stories
- a good mix of humour and horror
- solid acting
- squandered potential