DIRECTOR: Craig Anderson
WRITER: Craig Anderson
When an estranged family comes together for Christmas at their rural family home. Little do they realise of the horror that is about to befall the family. When a cloaked and masked man holding a letter knocks on Diane's door. It soon becomes apparent that a decision she made twenty years ago has returned to seek revenge on her and everyone that she loves. Diane will need to put an end to this person once and for all before he ends up killing her entire family.
There is something pretty amazing about watching an iconic actress like Dee Wallace come all the way down under to Australian to shoot and headline a gory, bloodsoaked Christmas slasher. An actress who has starred in classic movies such as The Howling, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Cujo, Critters, The Hills Have Eyes, The Stepford Wives, 10, and The House Of The Devil has taken time out to film a low-budget horror movie in my country of birth. I feel like it's a proud moment as a horror fan.
Looking at the poster for Red Christmas, you may be mistaken for thinking this is just another Christmas themed horror movie. Lately, they seem to be all the rage. But Red Christmas isn't your typical slasher movie. Some genuinely dark themes run deep in this film that elevates it beyond just your standard masked killer who is out seeking revenge which has been done a million times. This is a movie that will have specific groups, up in arms over some of the content portrayed in the film.
While the movie features a plot that feels very similar in structure to a lot of slashers. I think what I enjoyed most about the film was the motive of the killer. While this film is heavily steeped in revenge, the killer is seeking revenge for an attempted abortion that happened twenty years ago. It's probably one of the darkest motives that I think I've ever seen in a slasher. It also raises a lot of questions about terminating unborn children who may have a mental disability. It asks you which side of the fence you sit on and where your moral compass lies.
One of the most significant issues that I had with Red Christmas was the entire family dynamic. Most of the family are utterly unlikable. Nearly every single character but a few spend the entire film arguing and fighting. So for the most part, I didn't care if three-quarters of the family died. The only two people that I cared for here are Dee Wallace's Diane as she is the most seasoned and has the most to work with and her youngest daughter Hope who seems to be the nicest one in the family.
The highlight of Red Christmas is the practical gore effects and the death scenes. For a low-budget Australian horror film. The gore here is top-notch. We have some of the bloodiest and goriest kills that I've seen in a slasher all year. We have people split in two with an axe, heads shoved onto broken blender blades, blood geysers, and a bear trap death scene that is one of the best I've seen since Ravenous or the Straw Dogs remake. Gorehounds will walk out of this smiling.
When it comes to the suspense and tension. I don't find Red Christmas all that scary. But what I think it does successfully is that from the moment the killer knocks on the families front door, it has this sense of eerieness to it all. It also never lets up or slows down from this point on. Once the killer begins picking off the family in pretty glorious fashion, its always moving. I think the earlier scenes have this sense of dread about them. As the killing start taking place, I think that the movie is injected with a massive dose of urgency.
It must also be mentioned that Red Christmas is a pretty dark movie. If you're hoping for some relief by the end of the film, don't. While the film is filled with all these neon colours, it's far from colourful. The movie is mainly watching an entire family who are being brutally murdered. Three generations being massacred and wiped out. I do like that Australian horror films aren't afraid to end on a dark note. I think Craig Anderson has crafted one mean-spirited little horror film.
Lastly, we come to the acting. I've mentioned several times already that this is Dee Wallace's show. She is the star and producer of the project. As the matriarch of the family, she is given the most to work with and is the catalyst for all the horror that takes place. An iconic actress that even when doing a low-budget Australian horror film gives it her all. I think she is fantastic here. I also felt incredibly sorry for her character Diane. A mother who watches her entire family and all those she loves being wiped out.
DEATH TOLL: 12
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A man has his penis ripped off.
- A man is shown with his face smashed onto a table grinder.
- A woman is sliced down the middle with an axe.
- A man is hit in the middle of the head with an axe.
- A man is strangled to death in a car.
- A teenager with Down Syndrome is shotgun blasted.
- A woman is stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone's eyes explode, and blood sprays everywhere.
- A woman has an umbrella shoved through her eye.
- A woman hangs herself.
- A man is hit in the chest with an anchor and pulled out a window.
- A police officer has a bear trap shoved on his head.
- A guy's heard is pushed onto a broken blender blade.
While Red Christmas sticks to pretty standard slasher formula and has a vast array of annoying characters. Red Christmas is still an enjoyable holiday horror treat. You'll be gifted with buckets of gore and a pretty dark and mean-spirited little Australian horror film. The practical effects are fantastic, and Dee Wallace is in fine form. This is a film that also deals with some darker subject matter that will more than likely piss off a lot of anti-abortion and pro-life groups.