HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions.
Horror anthologies based around our most love holidays(as in the U.S. term for Christmas, Halloween etc..) are the a penny these days. Just last year we had Tales of Halloween and A Christmas Horror Story both striking a chord with horror fans. Holidays, however consists of eight short horror films spanning a spectrum of different holidays throughout the year. This means that the film makers chosen to participate have a much larger scope in which to be creative.
Holidays hands the directorial reigns over to ten directors, from the experienced Kevin Smith(Silent Bob from the Jay and Silent Bob movies), to newcomer Ellen Reid and a whole range of people in between.
Leading us off, and thus setting the expectations for the rest of the anthology is St. Valentines day(directed by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch),a take on the often told tale of a bullied teenager, with the twist of her falling in love with her teacher. The teacher is currently awaiting a heart transplant, and this alone should telegraph what comes next! Although a lot of this segment is full of cheesy acting, we are confronted with darker elements, such as the effects the bullying has on the poor girl.
Next up is St.Patricks Day, an Irish offering from Gary Shore (Dracula Unbound). Just like the last segment, this also deals with sexuality in a roundabout way when a schoolteacher is impregnated by a creepy Pegan imp. This is as messed up as it sounds, and the shock tactics used and the delightfully messed up ending makes this one work!
At 3, we have Nicholas McCarthy‘s Easter themed nightmare about a young girl who is listed by a terrifying Easter Bunny/Jesus hybrid. This is a very well executed segment that really goes all out with its creature design. The unique take on the bunny should impress any horror fan.
We continue with Sarah Adina Smith’s pregnancy thriller, Mother’s Day, is a deeply emotional tale about a woman who gets pregnant OVERTIME she has sex. Mothers day may just be the best of the bunch. Its sharp social commentary on womanhood and how society imposes this social duty upon women really does make you think. My other half commented that this is her greatest nightmare and told me it made her think twice about having sex for a few days(cheers Sarah!)
Following Mothers Day, comes Fathers Day. This falls a little flat if I'm honest. A young woman receives a tape from her father, who believed was dead, and follows the instruction given to find him. The majority of this segment is just shots of her walking the streets looking for her destination. I was convinced that this was just a set up to a big jump scare, but no, nothing! The worse defiantly followed the best!
Up next we have a segment from the films most experienced director, Kevin Smith. He had what should have been the easiest to make scary, Halloween. Smith cast his own daughter as one of 3 cam girls in the segment, who decide to take revenge on their hilariously over the top, cruel boss. The entire segment is built around one sadistic, yet adolescent prank. This is a “marmite” segment, as you will either love it or hate it. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
The penultimate tale is entered on Christmas, and stars Seth Green as a dad who uses all his hustle and uses morally questionable methods to get the toy stores last “must have” gift for his son. The gift is a sort of Oculus Rift style VR headset. Again, I'm sure any horror fan can guess the general story to this short, so i wont spoil it here.
To finish off is New Years Eve, where a serial killer who preys on women makes a date for himself on NYE. The painfully awkward conversations over dinner telegraphs were this one is going, but the ending still has some shock value.
As a whole, Holidays is entirely forgettable. I personally would have preferred they had gone with a “Trick r Treat” style film, with less segments that gave each one a little longer to develop. But if your a fan of short films, then please, give it a go.