Thursday, November 3, 2016

Holidays (2016)

Number Rolled: 16
Movie Name/Year: Holidays (2016)
Tagline: Surviving them is hell.
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: ArtCastle, Destroy All Entertainment, Distant Corners Entertainment Group Inc., Lodger Films, Revek Entertainment, XYZ Films
Producer: Various (37)
Director: Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Kolsch, Nicholas McCarthy, Adam Egypt Mortimer, Ellen Reid, Gary Shore, Kevin Smith, Sarah Adina Smith, Scott Stewart, Dennis Widmyer
Writer: Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Kolsch, Nicholas McCarthy, Gary Shore, Kevin Smith, Sarah Adina Smith, Scott Stewart, Dennis Widmyer
Actors: Seth Green, Lorenza Izzo, Harley Quinn Smith, Ruth Bradley, Clare Grant, Michael Gross, Mark Steger, Jocelin Donahue, Aleksa Palladino, Ava Acres, Harley Morenstein, Madeleine Coghlan, Shawn Parsons, Scott Stewart, Rick Peters, Andrew Bowen, Savannah Kennick, Ashley Greene, Jennifer Lafleur, Megan Duffy, Sonja Kinski, Willow Hale, Michael Sun Lee, Petra Wright, Kate Rachesky, Sophie Traub, April Eckfeld

Blurb from Netflix: Eight gleefully grim short tales set on Halloween, Mother’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and other holidays comprise this chilling horror anthology.

Selina’s Point of View:
Here’s the thing. I’m not quite sure how to rate this movie. The first half of it was crap. It was reminiscent of the pointless nature of the ABCs of Death (2012) which, well, we all know I HATED. However, the second half of the film was awesome.

Weird… but awesome none-the-less.

I totally forgot that Kevin Smith (Tusk, Clerks, Yoga Hosers) directed a portion of this anthology film. It was a pleasant surprise. I knew exactly which of the segments was his about five seconds into it, however. He has a very specific writing style. His segment definitely went for the gross shock factor and I enjoyed it more than I want admit.

Smith did the Halloween segment. As much as I would like to say his segment was the best simply because I love his stuff, it wasn’t. I think that it was actually almost the worst of the best (which was still MUCH better than the best of the worst).

I’m not sure how I’d line up the other three segments I enjoyed, but they absolutely intrigued me.

Father’s Day, written and directed by Anthony Scott Burns (Manifold, Our House, Lost Boy), was classic horror. Although many of the stories had some kind of dark humor involved, this wasn’t one of them. Still, it definitely brought out the best of the horror genre and I thought the acting was very believable. Whenever an actor can pull off that single teardrop thing, I’m impressed.

The Christmas segment, written and directed by Scott Stewart (Dominion, Dark Skies, Legion), was also great. I was amused that Seth Green’s (Krampus, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Mars Needs Moms) real-life wife, Clare Grant (Mega Shark vs. Kolossus, $5 Cover, Black Snake Moan), played his on-screen wife in it. I know her mostly from the Geek and Gamer Girls parody video and The Guild. The couple’s chemistry is undeniable, even in the case of this creepy story.

The New Year’s Eve segment, written by Kevin Kolsch (Starry Eyes, Absence, Identical Dead Sisters) and Denis Widmyer (Starry Eyes, Absence, Throwaway) – and directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate, Jerk All-Stars, Sequence Break), was the last of the four parts of this film that I really rather enjoyed. It was on the predictable side, but the dark comedy involved was just so… American Psycho (2000).

I think I’m going to give this film the benefit of rounding up with my rating.

My reasoning is that films like this, whether good or bad, help introduce people to new writers and directors. Not necessarily those that are new to the business, but new to the audience. I didn’t enjoy the Valentine’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, or Mother’s Day segments, but other people might. If they do, they could find out that they really love the work of the writers or directors involved and unlock a whole other type of entertainment for themselves.

For me, personally, I’ll be looking out for more projects from Anthony Scott Burns and Scott Stewart. I might not like everything they’ve done, but that’s still a whole list of shit to look out for.

I’ll usually recommend people watch and read anthologies. This isn’t an exception.

Cat’s Point of View:
Horror anthologies are such a grab bag. This one was no different. I’m still somewhat on the fence, really, with my overall impression.

Holidays featured as the #15 spot on my Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in April 2016 list. I had such high hopes for this film project; considering Kevin Smith (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Red State, Cop Out) was attached. Everything that man has a hand in is usually a sure bet. Even when it’s ‘bad’ – it’s meant to be and it’s so over-the-top that it’s brilliant. I don’t think that was the case here. This movie had to be the exception to that rule.

As this anthology concluded, I didn’t feel quite as icky as when watching prior review offerings dealing with the alphabet or video tapes. Unfortunately, it was overall rather lackluster. I think they could have done so much more with these 8 shorts films. That being said, not all of them were awful. I guess I just didn’t get the ‘payoff’ I was expecting here.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The holidays that received the spotlight here were all mainstream. There weren’t any random ones that wouldn’t be recognized easily. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all get to go out for a spin here. I was wondering where Thanksgiving ran off to, really.

Parents – this collection of films definitely wasn’t for kids.

I’m just going to toss it out right off the bat that I hated the Easter segment. Not only did it make me feel uncomfortable, it was just… ew. Maybe that was the point – but I don’t care. My favorite of the shorts was Father’s Day. It left so many questions and yet gave an eerie story that felt complete. I craved more of the story in a good way.

Runners-up based on satisfaction with their tales would be Christmas and New Year’s Eve. They didn’t have any loose ends and conveyed their story clearly. Christmas featured the real-life married couple of Seth Green (Phineas and Ferb, The Identical, Family Guy) and Clare Grant (Daylight Fades, The Insomniac, Team Unicorn). I was really hoping that Green would have been in Smith’s segment. Alas, this was not to be. Their performances were solid, as usual, though.

I’d have to say that I’m still a bit on the fence with Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day.  The former was just a bit on the predictable side, even if it wasn’t horrible. The latter was rather strange. I get where the St. Patrick’s Day bit was going – even if they tried to put a spin on a 19th Century Norwegian Folktale for a story based in Ireland. I guess with the amount of Norse invaders the Emerald Isle got back in the day, it’s fitting enough. There’s just such a treasure trove of scary and spooky Irish folklore that could have been explored. Oh well.

Mother’s Day left me feeling a bit ‘meh.’ It was unsatisfying and the ending felt rushed.

We finally come to Halloween. On the heels of that very holiday, it seemed fitting that this movie should pop up. The fact that Smith had this one should have made it the most epic of them all. Suddenly, in my mind, I’m hearing that buzzer sound you get with a wrong answer on a gameshow.

I think Smith dropped the ball.

He addresses a real issue in the world today. It’s a topic that probably should get more awareness. I don’t know that this was the appropriate vehicle for it. While there’s some karma involved with the tale – it wasn’t enough to balance out that this wasn’t the kind of ‘horror’ expected. I was just disappointed. It just didn’t tie in to the holiday it was supposed to represent well enough.

I probably will never watch this anthology again, and would generally only recommend it as a means to being able to share my sentiments of: ‘what the fuck?’

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 52%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 23%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

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