Matriarch Diane (Dee Wallace) has invited her children to celebrate one last Christmas in their family home. Amidst the celebrations, a mysterious, cloaked stranger, “Cletus” arrives at the home and is taken in. Due to his strange behavior, he is eventually forced to leave. It is eventually revealed that 20 years ago, the head of the family, Diane, traveled north to have an abortion. During the procedure, a religious zealot bombed the clinic. Unbeknownst to Diane, someone survived that fateful day and has come to the families home to violently destroy their Christmas plans.
The story begins on a Christmas day where Diane (Dee Wallace) has gathered all of her children together, to celebrate the holiday. It’s not long before tense arguments break out between two of her daughters, and during this, a creepy robed stranger knocks on the door. Diane invites him in, to be hospitable, but she soon changes her mind and decides she doesn’t want him there after all. When the stranger brings up a past heartbreaking story, the family immediately kicks the unwanted guest out. It then that they realize that was a big mistake because one at a time the family members begin showing up dead.
When we’re first introduced to the villain, one of the family members rudely asks him, “What the fuck do you want, and what the fuck are you supposed to be?” The cloaked guy then recites the Lord’s Prayer before killing the man. In horror, Diane does her best to hold down the narrative. One of her children has Down’s Syndrome, as does the stranger who’s just knocked on her door.
I think the shortcomings far outweigh the positives that everyone brought to the table. The dialogue seemed poorly scripted and delivered, while the pregnant woman looked like she was literally holding up a beach ball under her dress. Every character makes poor decisions, which is the norm with most horror flicks, but these may be among the worst of them.
The film is marked by a shoestring-budget aesthetic that favors the reds and greens of Christmas lights to such an extent that, as the third act rolls around, nearly every scene is filtered through a color palette too dark to see much of substance through. That comes as something of a relief at times, given how over-the-top the punishment becomes as “Red Christmas” races to put its final bloody gifts under the tree, but you still might not be in a rush to open them.
The movie, however, does have a few frightening moments which are disturbing. Beginning with the Abortion Clinic bombing, and never lets up from there. The directing is very stylistic in a classic 80s slasher flick way, and the story is surprisingly involving. All of the characters are pretty well developed, and the performances are somewhat impressive. Dee Wallace is especially amazing, in the lead role. I was really impressed that I actually enjoyed this film for the most part! If you’re a horror film fan, you’ll probably like it too.
Title: Red Christmas
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 22 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Studio: Artsploitation Films
Starring: Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, Sarah Bishop, Janis McGavin, David Collins
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Craig Anderson
Reviewed by: Dr. Butcher
Our Rating: 2.8 /5
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