Holidays (2016)

Poster-film-HolidaysAs it’s been a while, I figured it was time to review another anthology film. So when I found one that had one of the shorts written and directed by one of my favorite Directors, Kevin Smith, I jumped at it. Which was sad as Holidays was more deserving than that. The idea behind Holidays are eight short stories, each focused on a different holiday throughout the year with a different writer/director doing each holiday and it works great. As I genuinely liked six of the eight shorts, which is a pretty great success ratio and even the ones I dislike having a redeeming element or two.

The first short is Valentines day and focuses on a young girl, Maxine (Madeleine Coghlan) an awkward social outcast. Who’s relentlessly teased by fellow student and member of swim team Heidi (Savannah Kennick). The teasing often focusing on Maxine’s crush on their swim team coach, Coach Rockwell (Rick Peters). Who is in need of a new heart…

The second story is based on Saint Patrick’s day and focus on Elizabeth Cullen (Ruth Bradley). A teacher, who after going out partying on Saint Patrick’s day and wakes up pregnant… with a snake.

The third film is about a young girl (Ava Acres), who fears Easter after learning Jesus rose from the dead that day. That night she hears a noise that draws her to the living room where she witnesses and egg roll into her home. Out side she finds a twisted rabbit/Jesus hybrid (Mark Steger) that hatches baby chicks from his hand. Who gives her an egg so that she may take his place…

The fourth film is Mothers Day and is about Kate (Sophie Traub). A young woman cursed with becoming pregnant every time she has sex and has had over fifty terminations so far. By referral of her doctor, she visits a remote house in the desert where women come in hopes of becoming pregnant…

The next holiday is Fathers Day and focuses on Carol (Jocelin Donahue). A young woman who comes into possession of a tape recorded by her Father (Micheal Gross) who left when she was younger. The tape contains directions to find him when she’s older. Directions that lead to an abandoned building and a mysterious man you only get one chance to meet.

Halloween is next and centers on Ian (Harley Morenstein) a ruthless pimp, for lack of a better word. Who gets the tables turned on him by his cam girls (Ashley Greene, Harley Quinn Smith, Olivia Roush) after he verbally, emotionally and sexually abuses them.

Christmas is the next tale, and opens with Pete Gunderson (Seth Green) arriving late to a toy shop to buy the last VR headset for his son. He arrives right after the last one’s sold to another man (Shawn Parsons). Pete tries to buy it off the man, but he refuses to sell it. Though Pete’s luck changes when the man suffers a heart attack at his car, allowing him to steal the headset over the body of the dying man. Rather than call for help. On Christmas day he gives the toy to his son who tells him the headset shows different things to different people tailored to them. When he dons the headset he see’s himself in a BDSM relationship. Though things change when he wears it again as he see’s his crimes through the eyes of the dying man. Something later seen by his wife (Clare Grant) when he fails to log out.

The last tale is New Years and opens with Reggie (Andrew Bowen) a lonely psychopath who murders the women he dates. He gets a New Years Eve date with Jean (Lorenza Izzo), who is as lonely as he is. The two go back to her apartment where things start to heat up and Reggie excuses himself to the bathroom. Where he finds the remains of Jeans former lovers, just as she comes for him with an ax.

As with all anthology not every short is equal and sadly the weakest is hands down Halloween. Kevin Smith does nothing to use the holiday other than a couple throw away shots in the opening scene where Ian buys candy for his cam girls. After this point the fact that it’s Halloween is irrelevant and the story has as much do with a random day in June as it does with Halloween. The best part of this short is Harley Morenstein, who does a great job in his role. Until the part where he’s forced to mutilate himself rather than just cut the cord to the vibrator that’s been glued inside him.

The other weak story I felt was Mothers day as it was brutally slow-paced. The short feels like it takes two to three times as long as it actually does. But the wait is almost worth ending reveal, which makes the whole short work.

My favorite shorts through were Christmas, Fathers Day, Valentines Day and New Years. In that order. Seth Green does a great job as the conflicted father coming to terms with what he’s done and the haunting tone of Fathers day is hard to shake.

Final thoughts, really good. Actually crazy good considering how little I liked two of the entries. The other six more than make up for the shortcomings of the other two. While Holidays will never supplant Trick r’ Treat as required Halloween watching or become so for any of the other holidays it features. Holidays is certainly worth the watch. 8/10

Also Easter is really good, with some solid visuals.


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