Red Christmas (Movie Review)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: A widow and her bickering family gather at her remote estate on Christmas Eve. She must soon protect them all from a hideously deformed killer who's out for bloody revenge.

REVIEW: Craig Anderson's RED CHRISTMAS is, to put it nicely, an interesting movie. When I got the assignment to peep the Christmas-set slasher flick something in the back of my mind told me to gather up a few buddies and watch it as a communal experience, as opposed to checking out the movie alone in the dark with the sound cranked up, which is my preferred method of fright flick viewing. And boy, am I glad I did as Anderson's RED CHRISTMAS is a motion picture I'm not 100% sure I would have enjoyed without my friends around to share in the utter lunacy that unfolded upon the screen.

To begin let me start off by giving you a rundown of the movie's plot. The film takes place, duh, over the Christmas holidays and features a family, lead by matriarch Dee Wallace, coming together to celebrate the season and try not to kill each other. They succeed here and there on both fronts. You see, turns out Wallace's mother character may or may not have had an abortion back in the day and said abortion may have resulted in a survivor fetus that grows up to don a black cloak and full-body bandages. Also, said son also may be a psycho killer hell-bent on killing off the family one by gory one.

Now let's start with the good side of this slasher coin. The movie sports a charming series of leads as the bickering family and I found myself enjoying the 80-some-odd-minutes I spent with (most) of them. The highlight being Geoff Morrell as Joe aka the drunk patriarch. His voicemail message was a hoot and brought the house – meaning my living room – down. Good times. Tag to that, the super-gore – which reminded me of early Peter Jackson – was on display in gloriously over-the-top gouts and had all of us smiling ear-to-ear. Watch for the umbrella. That's all I'll say. Also, the bear trap.

Now let's delve into a few of the flick's flaws real quick. The movie's main issue comes from its startling lack of consistent tone. That said, all of my buddies had a blast watching the movie and if I had not been watching it with a critical eye, maybe I would have enjoyed it more myself. That said, if I watched the film and laughed and joked the whole way through, generally having a good time at the movies all-around, then that must mean it was a quality film, correct? Meh.

The thing is – much like the last movie I reviewed here on AITH, GREMLIN, this Christmas slasher just doesn't know where to draw the line on what's funny and what's a bit too "real" to allow us to enjoy the splatter-gore on thick display. Need an example? Okay. This slasher-comedy begins at an abortion clinic. Need I say more? Okay, I'll go on. The place is bombed in the middle of an unseen woman's operation. The fetus is thrown into a bucket and said bucket is tossed in the corner. Cut to a close-up of the lip of the tin can and, yep, you guessed it, a tiny fetus hand rises up from the gooey-gore like a Troma character invading an Oscar-bait documentary.

But again, this is (hopefully) played for laughs so what are you gonna do? Past that the film has an issue where, let's say, when a character is fantastically dispatched with a shotgun to the face, the other characters react in long drawn-out sequences of true, go-for-the-gold performances that showcase the utter devastation such a delightfully gory death would have on those closest to the character in question. It's all kind of a bummer. Basically, imagine if at the end of DEAD ALIVE all the friends and family of the townspeople massacred by that lawnmower showed up and proceeded to experience the trauma of a loved one "lawnmower'd" to absolute death by a skinny nerd with mommy issues. Kinda deflates the fun, right?

In the end, RED CHRISTMAS might just be the thing you’re looking for when your buddies come over for the next get together. You'll no doubt sit there, like I did, in all of your cinema-wisdom and count flaw after flaw, but I bet you'll have a good time doing so. And after all, with a slasher flick set on Christmas, what more are we expecting? Exactly. So snag a copy of RED CHRISTMAS, turn off the film-student part of your noggin and turn up the "Let's do this" enthusiasm you once possessed as a teen picking up the oldest and oddest VHS from the back of your local video store. You just might have a blast. My buddies sure did.

Source: AITH

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