Anthology horror films continue the strong resurgence and find themselves in demand of many horror fans, looking for the upcoming stars and those bucking the Hollywood elite system of watered down horrific tales. “Holidays” designs an engaging topic by covering the entire year of what is normally subjected to dreadful pigeonholing with no expansion to a formal release. A movie such as Sinister or The Witch, works at any time of the year, no restrictions, no worries about any conflicts, however killer bunnies likely one time of the year, and that reduces the opportunities for filmmakers, as studios will not permit three more at once, but this collection has a wonderful chance to repeat yearly. The packaging contains eight movies with them in the order of the calendar, although some minor holidays find themselves missing from this treasure trove. As a reviewer these movies actually prove a tough scenario, summaries without revealing much of the story as they present as short films, however, it’s a challenge I fully accept.
“Valentine’s Day,” listed as the first entry from directors and writers Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch (Starry Eyes (2014)) uses a coach (Rick Peters) and bullied student Maxine (Madeleine Coghlan) relationship with a wonderful twist to start the ride in motion, which really reaches the heart. The calendar moves onward, one finds themselves staring at “St. Patrick’s Day” from writer and director Gary Shore, noted for his feature film Dracula Untold (2014), centers itself once more in a school setting. This time an elementary class with the teacher Elizabeth Cullen (Ruth Bradley) who divinely nails the role, as a pregnant expecting mother, with one problem a cunning student Grainne (Isolt McCaffrey) whose devious antics play factor in more ways than one. The tale shows a creepy concept however, it all comes a tad rushed, and ends strangely odd. Nicholas McCarthy delivers a wonderfully colorful curious Easter tale involving a little girl questioning the differences and existences of both Jesus and the Easter Bunny to her mother, and sincerely interesting how the short tale plays out. Noting though the tale might make some a bit stand offish with the reference to crucifixion and jellybeans, however no significant outrage from parents over a candy store selling chocolate crosses and last supper candy bars. Like the swift passage of time, one comes upon “Mother’s Day” by Sarah Adina Smith, once the director and writer roles combine into duty, with tale involving pregnancy, and a bit redundant with one early in the same collection, although the design of this film, reigns significantly more supreme than the other one. The story involves curiously strange therapy for women unable to reproduce, and another woman Kate (Sophie Traub) who’s beyond fertile, in fact every sexual encounter results in pregnancy, causes a twist of painful fates to align in new horror.
Soon enough, June arrives and just in time for a mystery involving “Father’s Day” written and directed by Anthony Scott Burns, this tale weaves a haunting story of listening to one’s father’s advice even after he passes onto the next chapter in life. The tone during the story feels as a trance-like hypnosis, his then little girl, and adult daughter Carol (Jocelin Donahue) to follow clearly, calmly and precisely without fear, however fear of the unknown always conjures heighten trembling fears. Before proceeding onward, a slight dissatisfaction comes from no stories involving Memorial Day or Fourth of July, either one these and constantly overlooked, and sad backlash, and hoped this time anthology collection would sneak another tale into the mix, covering one of these. A quick shift to October the grand celebration of Halloween, coming from the capable hands and mind of Kevin Smith (Tusk (2014) and who has more upcoming horror feature film projects on the horizon) provides and insight to the corrupt and abusive side of the pornography side of sex on a webcam. Ian (Harley Morenstein) an abusive and manipulative pimp boss who learns deeply about the consequences of mistreating, and constant empty promises especially against witches can become a true pain in the ass, especially when there’s three of them. The turkeys found themselves spared in this tale, as Thanksgiving swiftly passes by and find Christmas triumphantly waiting, with director and yes the screenwriter too, Scott Stewart presenting an interest story involving a virtual toy exposes desires and guilt, if they exist, and who is anyone kidding we all have them. Pete’s (Seth Green) mission to find the popular and only gift his son wants UVU/virtual reality headset and fate steps in and delivers the gift, or perhaps a curse. This story works very well on multiple levels, presenting an exquisite interest desire of Pete, which involves Karina Noelle and awakens a whole new world where he begins earning all-new gifts and thanks from his lovely wife Sara (Clare Grant). “New Year’s Eve” marks the final chapter in the film, from director Adam Egypt Mortimer assisted by screenwriters Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch when Reggie (Andrew Bowen), meets his perfect match on a blind date. Jean (Lorenza Izzo, from The Green Inferno (2013)) equally desperate not to be alone at the end and the beginning of a new year, luckily they make a binding commitment to each other.
These filmmakers created a very sound collection with the briefest hiccups, and offering many of them bloody good time in ruining the calendar year, embracing their themes and exploits. The list of horror anthology movies continues to grow and a highly anticipated Grindsploitation (2016) released, perceived to have 3 volumes, so this leaves Holidays as the token collection to renew the interest in celebrating various special dates during the year, why not have the horrors of Memorial, Flag, Arbor and even Labor Days create a new fascinating calendar. All the filmmakers, their crew and cast presented great nifty adventures for the fans of both the genre and holidays vastly comfortable embracing and longing for more smart creations.
This review was originally published on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website with a view count of 1,714.
Everyone has a dark side.
Surviving them is hell.
IMDb Rating: 5.1/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10