Red Christmas (2017) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

A widow, Diane, and her family celebrate their final Christmas at the family home. Typical family feuding is interrupted by a cloaked stranger. Unfortunately for them, he doesn’t come baring gifts but vengeance.  Red Christmas was written and directed by Craig Anderson and stars horror legend Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, Sarah Bishop, David Collins, Janis McGavin, Sam Campbell, Gerard O’Dwyer, Bjorn Stewart, and Deelia Meriel.

Not surprisingly, Dee Wallace gives the best performance of the film as the matriarch of the family. Not that the rest of the cast didn’t give good performances, they did. Gerard O’Dwyers performance as Jerry is entertaining. However, the dialogue was a bit clunky and awkward at times. Sam Campbell plays Cletus, the villain of the film. While dressed in a cloak and bandages, he gives the character a bit of a Rain Man feel to it; an idiot savant who happens to excel in the art of murder.

For only having four lights, the cinematography done by Douglas James Burrgdoff is pretty good. The red and green saturations parallel that of giallo’s from the past. The atmosphere is blissfully reminiscent of slashers from the 80’s. The biggest drawback to the film is the script.  For a film entitled Red Christmas, it doesn’t really utilize the holiday to its advantage. It serves only as a reason for the family to get together. There could have been many other scenarios to accomplish that. And with its title, it’s going to be compared to films such as Silent Night, Deadly Night and Black Christmas. Some of the dialogue feels forced and throughout the film, there are situations that make the viewer scratch their head. At one point, Diane leaves cell phones around outside to distract the killer. The way it was executed in the film felt forced and didn’t make much sense.

The central theme of this film is just as explosive as the bomb that goes off in the opening scene. Abortion. The message tends to go all over the place possibly trying to be politically down the middle but in the end, it comes across as a definite pro-life film. An entire family is being punished for the decision made by Diane twenty years prior. The other side of the argument is represented in the film as well but it’s obvious by the plot where this movie’s stance is. However, Anderson has stated that tongue is firmly implanted in cheek with this message stating, “I tried to come up with the stupidest idea for a movie.” It’s no Snakes on A Plane but Anderson seemed to have hit the mark with his intentions.

Overall, though the script has its faults, Red Christmas is a fun exploitation film. It gives off that old school slasher vibe and its always great seeing genre favorite Dee Wallace do her thing on the screen.

A widow, Diane, and her family celebrate their final Christmas at the family home. Typical family feuding is interrupted by a cloaked stranger. Unfortunately for them, he doesn’t come baring gifts but vengeance.  Red Christmas was written and directed by Craig Anderson and stars horror legend Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, Sarah Bishop, David Collins, Janis McGavin, Sam Campbell, Gerard O’Dwyer, Bjorn Stewart, and Deelia Meriel.

Not surprisingly, Dee Wallace gives the best performance of the film as the matriarch of the family. Not that the rest of the cast didn’t give good performances, they did. Gerard O’Dwyers performance as Jerry is entertaining. However, the dialogue was a bit clunky and awkward at times. Sam Campbell plays Cletus, the villain of the film. While dressed in a cloak and bandages, he gives the character a bit of a Rain Man feel to it; an idiot savant who happens to excel in the art of murder.

For only having four lights, the cinematography done by Douglas James Burrgdoff is pretty good. The red and green saturations parallel that of giallo’s from the past. The atmosphere is blissfully reminiscent of slashers from the 80’s. The biggest drawback to the film is the script.  For a film entitled Red Christmas, it doesn’t really utilize the holiday to its advantage. It serves only as a reason for the family to get together. There could have been many other scenarios to accomplish that. And with its title, it’s going to be compared to films such as Silent Night, Deadly Night and Black Christmas. Some of the dialogue feels forced and throughout the film, there are situations that make the viewer scratch their head. At one point, Diane leaves cell phones around outside to distract the killer. The way it was executed in the film felt forced and didn’t make much sense.

The central theme of this film is just as explosive as the bomb that goes off in the opening scene. Abortion. The message tends to go all over the place possibly trying to be politically down the middle but in the end, it comes across as a definite pro-life film. An entire family is being punished for the decision made by Diane twenty years prior. The other side of the argument is represented in the film as well but it’s obvious by the plot where this movie’s stance is. However, Anderson has stated that tongue is firmly implanted in cheek with this message stating, “I tried to come up with the stupidest idea for a movie.” It’s no Snakes on A Plane but Anderson seemed to have hit the mark with his intentions.

Overall, though the script has its faults, Red Christmas is a fun exploitation film. It gives off that old school slasher vibe and its always great seeing genre favorite Dee Wallace do her thing on the screen.