always increase around holidays. Maybe you subscribe to religious proscriptions
against self-destruction and are not suffering from depression. Eight
up-and-coming genre directors and Kevin Smith will still give you reasons to
fear them in the calendar-themed horror anthology Holidays (trailer
screens during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
get to New Year’s on December 31st, so that leaves Valentine’s Day
as the logical starting point for Starry Eyes co-helmers Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer’s contribution. A hunky but medically
ailing gym teacher takes a liking to the shy Maxine, but the rest of the girls
bully her relentlessly, especially the school’s queen bee. Don’t you wonder
what’s in store for her?
Shore pops us over to Ireland for the serpent-themed St. Patrick’s Day. There
will be snakes (St. Pat knew them well) and a terrifically sinister little
redheaded cherub named Grainne, who will rock her teacher’s world.
Incorporating less obvious Celtic lore, Shore blends scares with dark humor for
one of Holidays’ best segments.
look of Nicholas (The Pact I, but not II) McCarthy’s Easter is even more impressive, but it is too
sketchy, feeling like a proof-of-concept scene that needs a full film developed
around it. However, Sarah Adina Smith (who fully embraces genre this time
around, after playing it coy in The Midnight Swim) probably upends the most expectations with Mother’s Day. The
unnaturally fertile Kate seeks holistic help at a New Age retreat, but
encounters the dark side of paganism instead.
without question, the film’s strongest day is Anthony Scott Burns’ Father’s
Day. Frankly, it is a holiday Carol never really participated in, since her
father absconded while she was still quite young—except maybe he didn’t. When
he has a mysterious Walkman delivered to her, she will follow his recorded
instructions faithfully, hoping it will lead her to some answers. In terms of
its steadily building suspense and transfixing vibe, “Father’s Day” is arguably
a mini-masterwork. Without question, Burns is the battery’s least established filmmaker, but his work here ought to quickly
land him a feature deal.
Halloween and Scott Stewart’s Christmas are conceived as horror comedies, but
fall short of both laughs and scares. The former’s vengeful webcam girls who
turn on their captor represent especially problematic comedy material, whereas
the frazzled father who resorts to murder in order to secure the season’s most
coveted gift (a VR headset) feels like modernized E.C. Comics story, except
that probably makes it sound better than it is. Adam Egypt Mortimer’s New Year’s
also feels like an updated O.Henry story, but the Some Kind of Hate filmmaker’s execution (so to speak) is much
stronger. In fellow contributors Kölsch & Widmyer’s script, a serial
killer is eagerly anticipating his New Year’s kiss, but there is a big twist in
store for him. It is easily guessable, but it still works rather well as a
tasty dark irony.
Like just about every
anthology film, the constituent parts of Holidays
form an uneven whole, but there is more than enough to keep genre fans
engaged and satisfied. In fact, it will be particularly welcome to late night
patrons, considering how many nongenre films have been mistakenly programmed in
this year’s midnight section. Recommended as a creepy and clever horror
collection (more often than not), Holidays
screens again next Friday (4/22) and Saturday (4/23)—and is already
available on VOD platforms.
Labels: Anthology Films, Horror Movies, Tribeca '16