As another in a long line of Christmas horror movies, Red Christmas works quite well. I'm not going to hesitate to recommend it to horror fans after something a bit different, yet with many familiar genre tropes. Thematically, however, this is a much more interesting film to examine and dissect. I don't usually go into that much depth in my reviews (why suddenly spring that on people who have become used to my comforting shallowness?) and I won't break that habit here. Suffice to say, this is a film for people looking to stimulate a debate on the pros and cons of abortion. Yes, you read that right.
The film starts off with scenes set in an abortion clinic, and then we move forward twenty years in the blink of a transition panel. Dee Wallace is Diane, a proud mother setting things up for a family Christmas. With her partner and children around her, we get the usual mix of love and tensions. And then a stranger arrives at their door. A stranger with a deadly agenda.
It's often the case that we (aka me, myself & I) can get a bit carried away with complimenting independent movies if they simply manage to look as if some care was taken with the technical side of things AND the performances being coaxed out of the cast members. Which is why I gave myself a few days in between viewing this movie and writing up my review.
Yes, it's still a really good film.
Acting-wise, Wallace is fine in the lead, and she's ably supported by a cast of names I was unfamiliar with; Geoff Morrell, David Collins, Sarah Bishop, Janis McGavin, Gerard Odwyer, Deelia Meriel, and a few others.
Writer-director Craig Anderson has a lot of shorts on his CV, which has obviously helped him hone his craft over the years. Despite the premise of this film being developed around a strangely hardcore pro-life agenda (or so it would seem), plenty is done to distract viewers from the more ridiculous aspects of the plot. There are enough characters who feel impressively realised in a super-shorthand style, although not all of them, and the gory death scenes are very well done. It also has one of my favourite Die Hard references, a sly gag that is worth keeping your eyes peeled for.
A fine horror film with an enjoyable twist or two, Red Christmas also has a bit more going on below the surface than most. It may not be done as cleverly as it could be, and it is anything but subtle, but it's worth praising a film that delivers both the genre goods and also some more food for thought than your typical slasher.
UK horror fans can pick the film up here.
American readers can spend about an extra $0.30 on the bluray here.