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Red Christmas (2016)

I feel if this wasn't one of the very few and far between Christmas themed horror films it would never be spoken about or come up in conversation as much as I have seen it do so lately. This is such a wasted premise that is handled rather lazily, yet if done correctly could have produced a genuinely scary concept. However, it is so heavily weighted down by the lackluster performances, abysmal cinematography and direction that I am amazed people watch this seasonally. Featuring such an unbelievable family dynamic, I struggled immediately find a connection to any of these characters. The relationships between them all are extremely unconvincing, the constant changing of accents certainly doesn't help that either. The biggest culprit for this is leading lady Dee Wallace, someone who I know can do better. Given she has producing credits on this film as well, I can't understand why she gives such a dreadful performance here. I would honestly go as far as saying she is the worst of the group, yet the most recognisable. The kills are the strongest element, and I say that very half-heartedly. They are all extremely over the top, violent and gory. Not so much in a horrifying sense but more of a Trauma style humorous way. For instance the bear trap over the head and a food blender to the back off the skull to name a few. Although, one kill in particular stands out to me fairly early on, surprisingly for all the right reasons. There is clever use of camera work that makes you believe one person is going to die but in the last moment turns back to the unsuspecting character. Something that did stand out to me was how well this handles the aftermath of the kills. People don't just die and then move on in the very next scene as if nothing has happened as in most horror films of this quality. These characters do genuinely display distress and noticeable sense of trauma when a loved one or family member dies. This is something that although felt very impactful at the moment it just didn't quite seem to sit right considering the poor performances that come before and after it, if anything this just amplified the capability of the cast and how under utilised they were by the script. As expected from such a low budget production the camera work is amature at best, however this is worse than most usual suspects. The nausea inducing unsteadiness of everything on screen and unnecessarily close up shots of the cast make for some really uncomfortable watching. One thing I have spoken about in my other Christmas Horror film reviews is how they have used the seasonal lighting to create an ambience in lighting a room or a single shot, this film attempts to do something very similar but fails miserably. Each room in the house seems to have its own colour ranging from red, green, blue and yellow and makes everything look extremely cheap, unnatural and extremely off-putting. This is really badly done in every single way possible, barring the very minimal use of practical effects work, there is nothing here that is worth your time. Its is painful to watch and every minute of its runtime felt like an effort to get through. This is something I rarely say as I can always appreciate some form of the artistry that goes into making these films, or even in some cases the 'so bad its good' angle can provide for some comedic entertainment. This is neither and I strongly suggest you give this one a miss.



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