Is it possible to create a socially relevant horror flick? The answer to that question is a resoundingly eerie YES! “Red Christmas” takes on the guilt and justification of abortion in ways you never thought humanly possible. Written by Craig Anderson who brought us the Slamdance hit “The Tail Job,” we get a glimpse inside one family’s attempt to celebrate the Christmas holiday. With gut-wrenching cynicism and concepts boldly thrown in your face, this gruesomely thought-provoking film will cut you to the core…exactly like some of the characters—literally.
Diane, the mother of 4 adult children, one with Down’s Syndrome, gather at her house to celebrate Christmas Day one final time in their childhood home. After the death of her husband taken too early, she has decided to sell the home and travel abroad, much to her children’s chagrin. These siblings seem to have never grown up, harboring resentment and spewing it forth at their mother like daggers. But then there’s a knock on the door. A cloaked stranger enters. As patience wear thin and a body is sliced in two, the family wakes up as to the identity of this cloaked man…he is the aborted fetus come back for revenge.
Creepy. “Red Christmas” is absolutely disturbingly creepy, but also ingenious! It’s a dark dramedy that reigns in the questions of religion, life after death, and the consequences of our actions, both in the here and now and the everlasting. Not only does this film address the topic of abortion, we also find ourselves tackling acceptance of a child with Down’s Syndrome and his perception of what is taking place. It’s heartbreaking at one point and then somehow Anderson finds a way to make many parts darkly comedic. The shockingly realistic and brutal gore leaves you in total disbelief…your mouth gaping wide. The dialogue among these very dysfunctional family members create a dynamic that just might be familiar, but hopefully only on an extreme level. It’s a captivating concept, expertly written, and daring to say the least.
The style of filmmaking brings you, the viewer, into the house creating a “fly on the wall” type of feeling. To say it’s beautifully filmed is quite accurate, but keep in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is a horror film, after all. The intentional use of color and special effects are breathtakingly frightful jolting you into a state of high alert. It’s a masterpiece of psychological and physical terror with an ending that will leave you squirming.
The cast just adds to the distressful and horrifying film. Dee Wallace plays Diane, the mother attempting to save her living children from the horrors before her. She’s the epitome of a mom…she tries to make everyone happy, attempts to keep a smiling face no matter what, and will protect her children at any length. She readily conveys the fact that her conflicted soul has been buried for so long, but the need to save her children, those truly living anyway, far outweighs her own safety. Janis McGavin (Ginny) and Sarah Bishop (Suzy) are polar opposite sisters who fight like cats and dogs. They are at the same time hilarious and exhausting. The entire cast feels like a family, but we’re not talking Brady Bunch. More like Arrested Development goes horror.
“Red Christmas” is a genre bending film blending social relevance into horror films. It’s bold statements and presentation along with an element of humor creates a fascinating yet frightful film. Beware! It’s gory and addresses topics not easily discussed which is, in my book, the definition of daring. “Red Christmas” is a daring film, blurring the lines of drama, dark comedy, and horror into a socially relevant production that will stimulate a heated conversation. Now, that’s a film!