An 8-part anthology tells a strange tale for each of the year’s most celebrated holidays.
Earlier this year we were gifted with a rather shocking bundle of great directors directing bad short films in the form of Tales of Halloween (2015). In the case of Holidays, a much less humourous affair, thankfully the stars shine and the wannabes blackout. But there are still a couple of surprises along the way.
VALENTINE’S DAY – First and foremost I loved Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer’s work on the slow-burning but gory Starry Eyes (2014). And here I enjoyed Valentine’s style, despite the overuse of the colour red and the glaring Carrie (1976) influences. It’s a handsome piece, but ultimately…banal.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY – I really did not care for this one. While the creepy little schoolgirl has one of the freakiest smiles since Dead Silence (2007), the rest of this odd Irish tale just feels like complete and utter horseshit. The kind of horseshit that makes you think, “Right, if the next segment sucks, I’m wiping my arse with this fucking disc.” What else could you expect from the director Dracula Untold (2014)? Wasn’t it just disowned by Universal’s new Monster franchise? Ouch!
EASTER – Directed by The Pact’s (2012) Nicolas McCarthy, I confess that somehow I expected Easter to be the scariest egg in the basket. Instead it’s just the weirdest. And the Easter Bunny…just has to be seen to be believed.
MOTHER’S DAY – Just skip this one. Seriously skip it. You may recall a bloodied arm shooting out of the womb in the trailer? That split-second is the only interesting scene…
FATHER’S DAY – Easily the most suspenseful chapter of the lot. And while its conclusion is painfully predictable in hindsight, on first watch it had me guessing the darkest of possibilities right up until it was too late for the story’s heroine.
HALLOWEEN – You don’t need to worry when you’re in the hands of Kevin Smith, I find. It’s the only segment that is dedicated to delivering black comedy, and it really does deliver…depending upon your maturity level!
CHRISTMAS – I wasn’t expecting much from the director of bland horror-action flicks such as Legion (2010) and Priest (2011), or even Dark Skies (2013)…which is basically an Insidious (2010)/Sinister (2012) wannabe with aliens tacked on. I went in ready to yawn and roll my eyes in cynicism… And what do you know, the sneaky bastard pulled it out of the bag! I don’t know the first thing about Virtual Reality technology, but it plays out a like one of the better episodes from Patricia Arquette’s psychic drama Medium (2005-11). Joy To The World, indeed!
NEW YEAR’S – I’m undecided if they saved the best for last, but they certainly saved the most violent piece to close the show with. As much as I enjoyed it, frankly I was surprised that something so tame could come from the director of Some Kind of Hate (2015), one of the bloodier DVD releases of this year. Admittedly I did not watch this anthology in sequence, so whilst its twist is marginally similar to that of Christmas, my fun went unspoiled.
Should we blame V/H/S (2012) or ABCs (2012) for the surge in okay-ish horror anthologies in recent years? I don’t know… At least this one’s better than Tales of Halloween!