Directed by: Adam Egypt Mortimer, Anthony Scott Burns, Dennis Widmyer, Ellen Reid, Gary Shore, Kevin Kolsch, Kevin Smith, Nicholas McCarthy, Sarah Adina Smith, Scott Stewart
Written by: Anthony Scott Burns, Dennis Widmyer, Gary Shore, Kevin Kolsch, Kevin Smith, Nicholas McCarthy, Sarah Adina Smith, Scott Stewart
Starring: Harley Quinn Smith, Jocelin Donahue, Lorenza Izzo, Mark Steger, Seth Green
On DVD and Blu-Ray in UK on 10th October 2016
A teenage swimmer falls for her coach; a young man and woman don’t want to be alone this New Year’s eve; a little girl gets confused about Jesus’s resurrection and the Easter Bunny; a teacher prepares for St Patrick’s day; three young women look forward to delivering their own Halloween trick; a young woman struggles with her fertility; a daughter reconnects with her father; a father procures this Xmas season’s must-have gift. Let’s celebrate the Holidays!
Whether it’s a time for religious celebration or just a commercial day that ends up costing us a fortune, every year people across the globe celebrate holidays. Christmas, Easter, New Year’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, St Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s are the annual holidays which have inspired the various directors of horror anthology HOLIDAYS with each director giving their own unique take on these “special” days of celebration. Seven separate segments totally unrelated to each other, a la ABC’s of Death rather than Southbound, the short films take inspiration from modern day, such as the internet generation’s penchant for webcam nudity, as well as the past in the form of ancienty pagan religion and rituals. Add a bit of slasher torture (most of which is off-camera) and a dose of the weird and strange for good measure and we have a film which features a broad spectrum of ‘horror’ that will appeal to most genre fans out there. However, due to its short film structure without an overarching narrative and mixed content, the movie doesn’t really grip the viewer in the way that I’d hoped for, especially considering the talent at the helm of these segments.
Highlights for me aren’t the straightforward horror shorts but instead the kooky, weird tales that get you thinking. The Easter segment by Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact) will put a whole new spin on the Easter bunny whilst Gary Shore (Dracula Untold) explores ancient religions and quirky pregnancies in his St Patrick’s Day short film. Kevin Smith’s entry is undeniably his, even if it has little to do with Halloween, with it centred around a glorified pimp who runs a webcam business, hiring young women to work for him in front of the camera. Seeing women as purely objects to make money and use to satisfy his and others’ sexual urges sees it biting him in the ass big time. Seth Green stars in the Christmas short having wrongfully acquired a must-have gadget gift for his son but with the modern technology revealing more than he would like. These are probably the stronger tales with Father’s Day adding a strange, other-worldly dimension. The weakest link, as far as I’m concerned, is Mother’s Day. Telling the story of a young woman who gets up the duff every time she has sex is quite the problem. No matter how many condoms her boyfriend wears, she magically gets pregnant time and time again. When conventional medicine is unable to help, she visits a desert commune who believe in alternate medicine in the hope they might help her. However, their intentions seem to be pro-fertility. With a vague narrative, Mother’s Day fails to hit its mark. I suppose, to be fair, there isn’t really a stand-out short between them all with Southbound the only anthology horror in recent time to send a shiver down one’s spine.
There’s some brilliant ideas in HOLIDAYS and it’s a shame they’re not allowed to expand on them. I would have loved to have seen more of St Patrick’s Day, particularly with its Lair of the White Worm-esque vibe, and Easter could have proved even more terrifying, particularly from the eyes of a child. Unfortunately though, as with most horror anthology movies of late, the quality of the film as a whole just fails to impress.
Purely a release for fans of anthologies, don’t be expecting any gory horror or true scares here.