A mother must protect her family on Christmas Day from a demented stranger who is hell-bent on tearing them apart.
After watching this film I was really confused on whether I liked it or not. There were several things that intrigued me and I was happily surprised at what debut director Craig Anderson brought to the table, but at the end of the day, the negatives of this film far outweighed the positives.
“Red Christmas” begins in an abortion clinic where we see a woman receiving an abortion and a bombing attack at the same time. When everything in the clinic begins to spin out of control, the bomber rescues an unborn fetus that happened to survive. Fast forward 20 years later and we see Diane (Dee Wallace), somehow manage to get together her four children and their loved ones on Christmas day, just for it to get disassembled by Cletus (Sam Cambell), a monstrous being who calls Diane “mother” for reasons unknown at the time. Throughout the film, she connects the dots and realizes that Cletus is her child that she aborted 20 years before.
This is not a good movie, but it has good ideas and stylistic concepts that I appreciate. This movie is trying to be different from the get-go and is shown by the colors and lighting right away which carry on throughout. The use of real Christmas lights and different colored light bulbs bring a really fresh and vibrant look to the film. The lighting helps the film feel campy, but at the same time creepy. The music actually helped me enjoy the movie more, it kept me engaged and focused while it was playing. The editing is not persistent at all and took me out of the film at times and many of the scenes felt incoherent and not properly shot.
“Red Christmas” never takes itself too seriously nor should it. That’s actually one of the things I really valued about it. Almost every death scene is over the top and had me giggling more than cringing at the creative ways characters died, while still being gory. There are few horror movies that deal with such rich content but can keep you laughing throughout, but this hurts the film as well. Most of the dialogue is not good. A lot of the interactions and lines between characters are cringe-worthy. I cared about almost none of the characters that were killed. The one good character was Jerry (Gerard Odwyer). This character had Down Syndrome but more heart and compassion than all the other characters combined. There are a couple of good jokes that Geoff Morrell’s character Uncle Joe nails but asides from that, there were few jokes that landed properly. Craig Anderson explores the debate about abortion but is just too inconsistent with the subject. At the end of the film, I can’t exactly wrap my head around what the theme was supposed to be. I can’t understand if I am supposed to be anti-abortion or not. Yes, every time Cletus murders someone I disagree with him, but if he just killed the mother wouldn’t that be the same as what she did to him? Am I supposed to believe if she didn’t abort him he would still be a murdering lunatic? I will repeat, this film is not good, but it is somewhat fun. Knowing the social context of the film and the way it fails at delivering its message irritates me because the potential to tell an interesting and complete story was there.
If you are looking just for a fun gore fest, then this is the film for you, but if you want in-depth characters and themes you can attach to, go watch any other average horror film because this flick has none of that flavor. I think “Red Christmas” tries to hit different social topics in a creative and fresh way, but just misses too many marks that have to be hit on the head.
Available on Blu-ray, DVD & VOD October 17th