Genre icon Dee Wallace (The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, E.T., Cujo, Critters) stars as the stressed-out mother of a squabbling family, gathered together in a remote Outback estate on Christmas Eve. Their petty dramas threaten to blacken the holiday until a mysterious and deformed stranger appears at the door seeking bloody vengeance. Red Christmas will open in Los Angeles August 25th for a week-long run at the Laemmle Music Hall, and expand to screens in San Francisco, Denver, Dallas and more over the coming weeks.
What We Thought:
Red Christmas was a nice little surprise. It has some good gore/kills and kept me paying attention throughout the film. Dee Wallace is still a Horror Queen and isn’t giving up that title anytime soon.
Christmas themed horror movies are a mixed bag. This film is set during Christmas, but it isn’t all that relevant. The family is together for the holiday, but it could just as easily been Thanksgiving, Easter, a birthday party, whatever. Santa isn’t going around killing anyone. Yes there are decorations, a Christmas tree and presents, but again, it being Christmas, to me, isn’t super important.
Wallace’s children come home for the holiday and there is all kinds of drama. One daughter is pregnant and looks ready to burst. One shows up with her priest/preacher (?) partner. Then there’s Wallace’s son who lives at home because he has Down’s Syndrome. He’ll have his own paragraph coming up. A stranger shows up at the door wearing a robe and covered in bandages. They let him in and when he starts talking about an event years back at an abortion clinic he is immediately thrown out of the house. But he’s not going anywhere.
The majority of the film takes place in Wallace’s house and has good suspense because of it. Once things start going it gets right into quality horror range. The first kill catches you off guard and gets you ready for the violence. They aren’t stupid like most horror characters. They call the police, they get a gun, they lock up the house and try to hide in a shed. There’s enough realistic elements to it that you know the filmmaker enjoys the genre himself.
With lesser known horror films like this, I ask for good kills and quality gore. This gave it to me. There’s a scene that might remind you of You’re Next. There is a good amount of blood and shooting. The bad guy is a creepy guy you immediately don’t like and can survive some things others wouldn’t. It checkmarked a lot of what I want in this type of film.
Then there is the acting. At this point Dee Wallace can probably do a film like this in her sleep because she’s always good in horror films. The surprise though is the actor with Down’s Syndrome. I thought he was really good. He’s funny and a well-rounded character. Plus he’s pretty badass and tough. He’s not just in the way or someone who needs protecting. He’s a quality character you root for and genuinely like and the actor did a fantastic job in the role. Props to the filmmaker for this character.
Genre fans will probably watch Red Christmas because of Dee Wallace’s association and I’m fine with that. I think fans will enjoy it. I liked it and will be telling others to check it out.