Whether you hate them, or love them, yet another horror anthology was birthed with the 2016 April release Holidays. Here we will break down each segment with a clue of what each segment entails without the spoilers, with a hint of opinion and personal reactions. What’s your personal favorite day to celebrate?
Starting the movie right along comes the visually striking Valentine’s Day story directed by Dennis Widmeyer and Kevin Kolsch. If you’re a fellow fan of their 2014 film Starry Eyes, you’ll feel semi at home with their genius way of creating a bully that you seriously just want to see get stabbed in the throat, and the familiar repercussions of kicking a dog that’s already down. The too familiar tale centralizes around a teenage girl who is constantly teased by the other girls on her high school swim team. It often reminded me of classic humility gym scenes such as in The Craft (1996) or even Carrie (1976) but brought up to current times with the mentioning of school talent shows allowing teenagers to perform “twerk” routines inspired by Nicki Minaj and some lovely gore to wrap it all up. Certainly a strong punch to start off the series!
Overall reaction: Couldn’t help making me think of Japanese school girls but if Americans did yandere.
St. Patrick’s Day
Next up on the calendar comes the disturbing story of St. Patrick’s Day directed by Gary Shore. After further research of this director, I was highly impressed with having only one horror movie under his belt with Dracula Untold (2014). The plot immediately starts off with a red headed little girl who’s new to the school but is completely stand offish with the teacher’s friendly attempts of trying to make her feel more welcomed. You soon discover that although the teacher loves her job caring for the students, she wishes more than anything to have a child of her own. At the end of this Irish holiday she discovers a cute little handmade coiled snake trinket on her desk with a note that reads “only your deepest wish can make me smile” and the baffling events take off from there. Without giving out any spoilers, I will say this is one of the strangest stories in the mix. By the end of tale, I wasn’t sure whether to appreciate the oddness as I do in the king of weird movies Gozu (2003) or to simply object it due to the lacking visual effects and numerous loopholes.
Overall Reaction: Still undecided.
Ok, so if you’re into creature features, this will probably be your favorite out of the bunch. Nicholas McCarthy’s Easter delivers a tale of a little girl who is completely confused by which parts of this particular holiday should be deemed as truth or fiction. The creepy atmosphere easily develops as the little girl starts to overthink the popular concepts of Easter and her mother accidentally adding even more fear with a bed time story of how it’s important for the little girl to keep her eyes closed until morning. Like clockwork the little girl gets thirsty in the middle of the night and fights a shocking surprise down stairs that personally left me utterly giddy of how well it tied the story all together. Loved the creature design, the transition from the fairy tales, and just the overall eerie feeling from an obedient little girl’s perspective.
Overall reaction: Very pleased.
And then there’s the Mother’s Day bit directed by Sarah Adina Smith… The story features a young woman who keeps getting pregnant regardless of the numerous contraceptives procedures she partakes in. She is recommended to visit a fertility facility owned by the current doctor’s sister that is located in the middle of the desert. An unsettling atmosphere is met once you realize that all the women attending this fertility ceremony are either infertile or looking to get pregnant as the main character just wants her ovaries to just give it a rest. As the ceremonial practices begin, everyone gets naked, Ayahuasca is ingested and the mysterious experiences for protagonist take off from there. In retrospect, this potentially sounds like an interesting story but it really fell short for my tastes. Nothing really memorable, nothing really intriguing, just a bunch of “meh” followed by an annoying ending.
Overall reaction: You’re better than that.
Now if you’re a fan of mystery done CORRECTLY, then the Father’s Day short will perk your mood right back up! Anthony Scott Burns grabs the viewer’s attention immediately as the adorable teacher played Jocelin Donahue retrieves a random Father’s Day package from her doorstep. She soon unravels a cassette player with a tape already inside in which happens to be a message from her father. As the story progresses, you discover that her parents were separated during early childhood along with her father supposedly deceased. The mysterious audio tape soon presents a quest for the heartbroken young woman to meet him at an undisclosed location by following his step by step directions. Without heading into a spoiler zone, this was possibly the best story among the 8. The audio tape idea also brought out my Fallout fandom which added even more kudos than the massive amount it already had. From beginning to end, I was incredibly enthralled with the story progression, character investment, awesome cinematography, and seriously wanted more.
Overall reaction: IT’S OVER?!?
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, I could’ve completely done without Kevin Smith’s lazy excuse for a Halloween story. This short is basically about a scum bag cam girl business owner who lives out in Hollywood and has girls work out of his residential home. As the viewer is introduced to the three girls currently living in his home, they have a mini discussion about the witch cartoon playing on TV and cam life. The owner makes his way home throwing cheap candy at the girls, instigating a confrontation, a name calling fury and a subpar aftermath. As TrueHorror.net wrote in their recent review of the film,
“Imagine you are handed the keys to the coveted Halloween based segment in said holiday horror anthology film. Now imagine you take the keys and segment and piss all over it. Sadly that is exactly what Kevin Smith has done with Halloween…”
“This would be fine for “Kevin Smith’s Anthology of Whatever the Hell he feels like”, but for a Halloween segment in a horror film about holidays, it is a complete and utter disappointment and failure.”
I honestly couldn’t agree more with those statements. I’m not sure if Kevin Smith was attempting to spread his wings in a B-Rated fashion of writing, but it left me overall irritated especially with the undertone message of the ending.
Overall Reaction: Just stop.
So to be completely honest, one of the leading factors that led me to wanting to see this film was my inner love for Seth Green. I’m not exactly where it spawns from (he’s not my dreamy blonde haired Viking-esque type whatsoever); whether it’s the whole Scott vs Dr. Evil imagery that never leaves my head or my immense adoration for the 1999’s Idle Hands but I love Seth Green! In any event he is featured in the Christmas segment of the film directed by Scott Stewart. The tale involves a desperate father who is in need of the latest virtual headset glasses to complete his family’s Christmas holiday. One thing leads to another, he acquires the glasses but with major consequences on multiple scales. This certainly isn’t one of the stronger films on the list but I didn’t hate it. If anything it left me with a light hearted giggle that was constant until the end.
Overall Reaction: Ha ha.
The popularity of online dating is a topic that I am 100% ok with in use of horror story form. Adam Egypt Mortimer directs quite a satisfying tale for the New Year segment. The story starts off with a creepy serial killer who ironically captures and murders the same actress who was first killed off in the brilliant 2012 remake Maniac. (Poor Megan Duffy, I would really love to see her in a revenge redemption film!) A lovely transition from brains to cherry ice cream introduces the another sobbing young female who is yet again on her couch dateless and of course on New Year’s Eve. A message suddenly pops up on her laptop from her online dating account from a new prospect – guess who! With the mindset of “can’t be worse than the last one”, they end up going out for dinner, and just having one of the most awkward first dates possible as you catch yourself shuddering at the serial killer’s disturbing unkempt teeth. Stepping away from the spoiler zone, this was another favorite on my list. I found myself intrigued with both characters, the story line, and wouldn’t be disappointed if this segment was drawn out into a longer movie.
Overall Reaction: no other words but YASSSSSS.