Holidays tend to have a horrific feel no matter what. They are mostly products of folklore. This should be a great idea for an anthology. Anthologies are a mixed bag these days, mostly because what was once four or five stories is now eight, which ups the odds that some won’t work. This is just the way of things at the moment so you take the good with the bad.
First up is Valentine’s Day – A bullied girl believes that her much older teacher is in love with her so she sets out to give him a special gift, with the help of her chief tormentor. This new take on the classic trope is hard to watch at times. All the characters are believable which is what makes the cruelty so tangible. That being said, it really delivers on the ending in an appropriately creepy way. Solid film by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch, the creators of Starry Eyes. I look forward to their next feature.
St. Patrick’s day, directed by Gary Shore, is up next and though it has great visuals and a truly jaw dropping ending, it lacked something that spoke to me. Maybe it was the Irish paganism and maybe its complexity was too heavy after the straight forward start, but I couldn’t latch on to the story of a teacher who becomes pregnant after receiving a snake from the weird kid in class.
Next up is Nicholas McCarthy’s Easter, which is perfectly twisted. A child has trouble reconciling zombie Jesus and the Easter Bunny as representing the same holiday. Fair enough. She is told she needs to be asleep before the Easter Bunny comes but of course, she isn’t. What she sees is terrifying. Imagine a cross between Christ on the cross and a rabbit. As a child I would die. Great stuff!
Mothers’ Day by Sarah Adina Smith, is a tale of Witchcraft. I’m always down for a witch so I did appreciate this one as a whole. A girl can’t stop getting pregnant and ends up at a retreat for women that happens to be witches in need of babies basically. I like the idea but not too keen on the execution. A little too serious and there is a lack of atmosphere throughout.
One of the best was Father’s Day, by Anthony Scott Burns and starring the always excellent Jocelin Donahue. A woman who lost her father as a child receives a brown paper package on her doorstep. She opens it to find a cassette and tape recorder. It is the voice of her father who wants to lead her to him. The thing is, her father died…or did he? This one has ALL the atmosphere and a haunting premise that works from start to finish. Easily the best of the bunch.
Halloween or Hollow Ian, perhaps the segment that will be most scrutinized, is directed by Kevin Smith. This is an odd pairing but it works for the most part. The thing is, you either love him or hate him and I do love his work. However, the story of a cam girl whose director (?!) won’t let her out for Halloween wants a better ending. It has its moments but in the end, I just wanted a little more.
Skipping over Thanksgiving once again, Christmas is helmed by Scott Steward. Seth Green is always awesome and is easily the best part of this story about a man who desperately tries to get his son a VR headset but ends up seeing the future and things kick up a notch and…end! Yeah. Great set up and then nothing. A shame.
Finally, things end with New Year’s Eve by Adam Egypt Mortimer which stars Lorenza Izzo as a girl on a blind date with a psycho. It is a kick ass and somewhat gory ending to the film and it is unfortunately short.
Holidays really wanted to be more fun but I think it really illustrates the problem with short form as a whole. Not everyone can work in this format and many of the segments seem chopped off. That being said, it may just be me because I hate shorts. Check this out for yourself. Let me know what you think.