April 16, 2016

VOD Review: Holidays (2016)

"Considering the talent involved, Holidays wasn't quite as good as we'd hoped it would be."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4419364/
Holidays is a Horror Anthology that is made up of 8 stories written and directed by 8 Genre talents who each offer their own twisted takes on the biggest holidays of the year like Valentine's Day; St. Patrick's Day; Easter; Mother's Day, Father's Day; Halloween; Christmas; and New Years Eve.

No Thanksgiving though, which really feels like a missed opportunity for Eli Roth

It's a great concept that is rife with possibilities, but for us, the material never quite lived up to that potential. *It is quite possible that we weren't in the right frame of mind to relax and enjoy this one for what it was, instead of not enjoying it for what we really wanted it to be, but wasn't. So read on knowing that we're not really sure how we feel about the mixed feelings that Holidays gave us.

For this review, we're going to briefly cover each of the segments that make up Holidays, and we'll do so in the order in which we liked them, from best to worst.

I will also try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. 

FATHER'S DAY
Father's Day tells the story of a young girl who receives a package from her long-dead Father, which includes a tape recorder and a tape. On that tape is a message that recorded especially for her, many years ago, the contents of which send her on a journey to find the answers that she has sought for so long.

This was by far the best segment of the Anthology. Anthony Scott Burns created a haunting and eerie story with Father's Day that made us wish that it wasn't just a short film... and that it had ended on a more satisfying note, because with all of the excellent build-up, the end just kind of happened, and that was it. The vastly-underrated Jocelin Donahue was perfect in this one too; we really wish she got more high-profile work.

Good stuff overall.

EASTER
On the night before Easter, a young girl is scared to go to sleep, because she's afraid of the Easter Bunny. Trying to waylay her daughter's fears, her mother tells her not to worry, and goes off on a tangent about Jesus and his resurrection, which freaks her out even more. In the middle of the night, the girl goes to investigate a noise in the living room, and finds something far more terrifying than she ever imagined.

Directed by Nicholas McCarthy (whom we're big fans of), we found Easter to be pretty enjoyable. It could have been better, as it was a bit talky at the beginning, and the cheesy ending kinda ruined the creepiness of the whole thing a bit, but we thought it was pretty cool how the Jesus/Easter Bunny creature felt like a Cenobite to us.

CHRISTMAS
A father is on the hunt for the perfect Christmas gift for his son; a VR headset that is somehow able to see into the depths of your soul, and project whatever it finds there. What it finds is nothing good.

The tongue-in-cheek vibe of Christmas, along with its cool VR premise, worked for us. Seth Green was great here, as was his sexy real-life wife Clare Grant, and with all of this segment's potential, this one could easily be a feature-length effort. Very enjoyable.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY
A teacher who wants nothing more than to be a mother receives some unwanted help from the odd, new girl in class, Grainne.

It could just be me, but this one had a Fulci-esque vibe about it; it was probably the fact that the creepy little ginger girl reminded me a lot of the little girl from The Beyond, but maybe I'm crazy. Either way, this was a decent short that had me right up until the silly ending came along with it's Danny Zuko nonsense, which included a snake with a pompadour. 75% enjoyable.

MOTHER'S DAY
A girl who gets pregnant everything she has sex, no matter what kind, or how much contraception she uses, heads to a weekend fertility ceremony, looking for help with her unwanted pregnancy.

The most feminine of all of the segments, obviously, is Mother's Day; which was directed by Sarah Adina Smith, who gave us last year's haunting, The Midnight Swim. This was probably the most tonally serious of the segments, but it does drag a bit, and it never quite felt fun or exciting... which was the point, but it bears mention. Solid, but a bit underwhelming.

NEW YEAR'S EVE
A Serial Killer lands a date with a lonely girl on New Year's Eve, only to find that his potential prey isn't about to take his murderous intentions lying down. 

This one was decent enough; a bit too short, and way too obvious, but decent. The gorgeous Lorenza Izzo is great as the lonely girl, and the way that she fights off the killer's advances was pretty fun. Even intense. Decent, but way too short.

VALENTINE'S DAY
A young girl named Maxine develops a crush on her Diving Teacher, and struggles to show him how she feels amidst dealing with the group of mean girls who are intent of making her life a living hell.

This one wasn't bad, but it had too much quirk mixed into the Horror for our tastes. It just felt uneven, and as much as we liked the ending, it felt oddly humorous rather than terrifying. I don't know, had this one played it for straight Horror from start to finish, then we would have liked it way more. Probably. Maybe not though.

HALLOWEEN
Three Cam Girls decide that they've had enough of their sleazy boss's abuse, and decide to teach him a lesson that he and his most tender body parts won't soon forget.

Easily the worst of the bunch, Halloween didn't feel like the work of Kevin Smith at all. This segment is vulgar, as you'd expect from something with Smith's name on it, but everything here seems forced; from the dialogue to the revenge bit. It's not funny, and it really it felt like it was written by a twelve-year-old who likes to swear excessively just for the sake of it. Worst of all, it just didn't work on any level. At least for us.

As with any Horror Anthology, there were parts of Holidays that worked, and some that didn't. For us,this was a truly middle-of-the-road experience.

We really liked the Father's Day and Easter segments, and Christmas and St. Patrick's Day were fun, but even the good ones felt like they were lacking something, Again, maybe we expected too much, and we should have just kicked back and enjoyed this movie for what it was, but that's how it hit us.

We had two real problems with this Horror Anthology: One, is that as good as some of the segments were, none of them seemed to know how to end effectively. Two, the tone was too campy and silly at times, which killed the impact of most of the segments.

It also really felt as if many of the segments were thrown together in a very short time, and they suffered for it.

YEAH, SETH, WE HAD TO WATCH IT TOO.
This one was all kinds of gory. Excess blood, severed body parts, open wound fingering, disturbing cam porn (which was only alluded to, but was nasty), dismemberment, and even the trusty old ax to the head bit.

WHO'S THE PRETTY GIRL NOW, HUH?
The Mother's Day segment had some nudity, and the Halloween segment was suggestive in its subject matter.

FOR THE MOST PART THOUGH, THE NUDITY TREE IS BARE IN THIS ONE.
Maybe if they had cut the number of segments down to 5, and allowed the ones that remained to breathe a bit more, Holidays would have been a more satisfying experience overall. As it stands though, what we have here is an Anthology that gives us 2 solid segments, a few mediocre ones, and a few that we could have absolutely done without.

It was alright, but it just didn't grab us like we had hoped it would. Less picky (some call us elitist) Horror fans may get a kick out of it though.

C

Holidays is available now on VOD, and will be in theaters (Limited) starting on 4/22.

http://amzn.to/1XBAVI3

The ladies of Holidays have their own Horror Hottie post that you can see right over HERE, if staring at pictures of attractive women is your thing.

3 comments :

  1. "Considering the talent involved, Holidays wasn't quite as good as we'd hoped it would be."

    Totally agree. I had such high hopes as some of these directors have done some of my favorite films of the past 6 or 7 years. Instead, it was simply a collection of shorts that varied in quality and all had to have a "punchline" at the end of them. Lynch's 52 seconds "Premonitions Following an Evil Deed" still remains the pinnacle of what a short can do without having to be clever.

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  2. Only 2.5/5? :( I'm really enjoy this movie and imho it's much better than ver 2 of abc of death.

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    1. 2.5 is an "average" score, and given the issues that the movie had, it's pretty generous. It had its good parts, but for us, it had just as many bad ones.

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