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Holidays (2016)

holidaysThe folks behind “Holidays” try to cover all the bases of the resurgence of the horror anthology film. They tackle the holiday horror film, try to create original and unique horror segments out of rarely touched upon holidays around the world, and they also organize it with a faux arthouse gloss that became popularized in “ABCs of Death.” While “ABCs of Death” and its sequel were misfires of the anthology horror film at least they were amusing misfires.

“Holidays” is just a series of stupid, baffling, and pointless horror segments that go nowhere and are so predictable you’ll swear by the end of the film you had some kind of psychic ability. The most obnoxious aspect of “Holidays” is the forced artsy gloss that tries to add some class to what is a really lowbrow series of nonsensical segments that can never be sure if they’re horror or dark comedy. Pretty much all of the segments straddle the lines between horror and dark comedy that they end up being neither funny nor creepy. “Valentine’s Day,” written and Directed by Dennis Widmyer & Kevin Kölsch, is one of the only somewhat tolerable segments, about a young girl named Maxine who is relentlessly tormented by her swimming class. She has a huge crush on her coach, and endures their taunts and torments until Valentine’s rolls around and Maxine decides to give coach the ultimate valentine after he leaves a valentine card in her locker.

While not entirely awful, the segment is destroyed by the fact that the very second the characters mention that the coach needs a heart transplant, you can figure out how this will end. It’s so obvious, there’s almost no point in finishing the segment. “St. Patrick’s Day,” written and Directed by Gary Shore, is a purely nonsensical segment about teacher Elizabeth who receives a trinket for the holiday by a student. When Elizabeth finds out the baby she’s inexplicably pregnant with is not human, she decides to bring it to term anyway, despite her sanity slowly fading away. This is one in another tonally uneven segments that never knows if it’s horror or comedy and ends on a ridiculous final scene. “Easter,” Written and Directed by Nicholas McCarthy, is another idiotic misfire about a young girl who is anxious for the Easter Bunny to arrive. Told by her mom about the Easter Bunny and the myth of Jesus Christ, and utterly confused, she mistakenly awakens during the night to meet the mythical monster.

Suffice it to say the segment spirals in to sheer absurdity with premise that makes absolutely no sense, despite the hilariously sacrilegious image of a Jesus/Rabbit monster. “Mother’s Day,” Written and Directed by Sarah Adina Smith, goes nowhere quickly as we meet young Kate, who is prone to getting pregnant every single time she has sex. Prone to constantly aborting her pregnancies, she’s sent to fertility cult in the middle of the desert becoming the center of a freaky resurrection of some kind. It’s another segment that makes no sense and bores from beginning to end. “Father’s Day,” Written and Directed by Anthony Scott Burns, only benefits from Burns’ slick imagery and eerie tone, despite a narrative that really amounts to a baffling final scene. Young Carol gets a tape recorder sent to her by her long lost father, who beckons her over the tape to find him and re-unite with him after so many years. Embarking on a mission to follow the instructions within the tape, Carol is led in to a dark road.

“Father’s Day” garners fine direction despite having no clear resolution. “Halloween” is the worst of the bunch, which is no shock considering director Kevin Smith has absolutely no grasp on horror. He’s handed a golden opportunity to go to town with “Halloween,” and delivers nothing but unwatchable tripe. Set on three webcam girls living with a despicable pimp named Ian, they decide to get their revenge on him after he goes one step too far. Smith’s segment fails the moment he places the weight of the premise and majority of dialogue on daughter Harley Quinn Smith (barely convincing in her role), and never recovers. Did I mention the segment has nothing to do with Halloween? “Christmas,” Written and Directed by Scott Stewart, is more of a one joke segment than a horror short. Seth Green plays Pete, a doting father anxious to buy the holiday’s hottest toy UVU. The virtual reality goggles can reveal your wildest fantasies but your darkest secrets.

After Pete’s wife Sara finds out about how he acquired the UVU, Pete is horrified to learn Sara has a dark side of her very own. Green and Grant are fine, but “Christmas” is more of a gag than short narrative. Ending on a gory, yet moronic note, “New Year’s Eve,” written by Dennis Widmyer & Kevin Kölsch, and directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, finds a young girl named Jean who ends up on an online blind date with a weird man, whose last relationship ended in murder. I’m still not sure why directors keep casting Lorenza Izzo, but she’s the least of the problems in a segment that’s painfully predictable, and never tries to break the mold as the capper to a pretty awful anthology.