Sunday, April 24, 2016

Holidays


   I'm a sucker for anthology flicks. Even if I haven't seen some of the most famous ones (Creepshow springs to mind), I've seen my fair share. The V/H/S movies, The ABC's of Death, Necronomicon, and others. I'm a fan of the sub-genre enough to get excited when I hear that there's an anthology flick with a horror-themed segment for each major holiday of the year. Well... almost each holiday. I guess they figured Thankskilling had at least one of the bases more than covered. Holidays, like most anthology flicks- is admittedly, a mixed bag. But it was fun, and well worth a watch.

   But, here's what I'm not going to do- I'm not going to review each segment individually. I've seen a lot of reviewers do that, and I get it. Each one is basically a short film. However, nobody is going to single out just one of the segments and skip out on all the rest. I feel like while it might be worth highlighting some of the better segments, you gotta assess the movie as a whole. Holidays tries valiantly to make the most of it's premise, and more than not, I'd say it does a good job of it. Eh, it's about 50/50. There's a handful of underwhelming segments, and just as many that are a blast. There's a little bit of something for everyone.

  I like movies that feature a variety of concepts and ideas, and while they're usually pretty damn imperfect that doesn't mean that in pieces and moments, and from scene to scene, it's not pretty great. Sure, Holidays is flawed- but there's an Easter Bunny/Jesus Christ hybrid monster for the Easter segment, seemingly born from the imagination of a confused and petrified child. That's the kind of gem you'll find in this grab bag. There's also plenty of body horror, creepy kids, scumbags, and in general just a lot of freaky gross-out stuff. It's a pretty good beer-n-pizza flick.

   Some segments are unfortunately dry, and others take forever to get to the damn point, but thankfully those are usually positioned between two other segments that are much better. I don't think this was outright intentional though, I think it's just good fortune that it happened that way because the segments are ordered chronologically. i.e. Valentines Day, St.Patrick's Day, Easter, etc etc... Big names and big talent are not mutually exclusive in this movie though. For example, I wasn't a fan of the Kevin Smith segment, which he wrote and directed. Also, I'm a fan of Seth Green, and I wasn't crazy about the segment he starred in.

   It's the segments that carries almost no pedigree behind it, or in it that wowed me. But, nevertheless, familiar faces and names abound. In Smith's segment, his daughter was in it. In the last segment, I saw Eli Roth's wife- who did pretty great. So even when it wasn't great, it was still fun. I was a big fan of the visuals in several of the segments; Valentine's Day, Easter, and St.Patrick's Day come to mind. But, Father's Day was no slouch either. The movie is a big mixed bag of tones and visuals, some going for grounded realism, and others going for dreamlike, or surreal. Again, something for everyone. People often don't realize that that phrase has two sides to it.

  For every one specific thing that appeals to a specific person, there's going to be someone who feels the exact opposite way about it. So while there most certainly is something for everyone to like, there's also something for everyone to dislike. I personally was not a fan of the Halloween segment nor the Christmas segment. Halloween's narrative had BARELY anything to do with Halloween itself. Total wasted potential. It felt like Smith had this idea, and just sorta said "Oh, well, I can use it here." It didn't feel like it had anything to do with Halloween itself. It revolved around... cam girls who exact revenge on their scumbag manager.

   Yeah, let's forget anything to do with actually relevant holiday tropes or themes. Trick r' treating? Pft. Costumes? Pft. Candy? Pft. Pumpkins? Pfffft. Let's ignore all of that stuff and just do a story about cam girls getting revenge on their manager with no relevance to Halloween itself, at all. Great! Yeah, no. Fuck that. Smith's segment, despite being fine on it's own merit, is easily the worst out of the bunch because it fails to take advantage of the premise in any creative and relevant way. Lumping it in there as another underwhelming disappointment, the Christmas segment.

   At least that segment dealt with relevant themes to Christmas itself like rampant consumerism and greed. Even though I don't feel like it exploited either theme to it's fullest extent, I felt like it at least tried. Still, kind of a boring one. Nevertheless, Father's Day, Easter, and New Years were good enough to make the whole thing worth watching. If you need to go get snacks, or take a bathroom break, try to do it during Halloween or Christmas, and don't bother pausing the movie- you won't miss anything good. Overall, the movie is packed full of weird and wild visuals, and a lot of fun stuff so you can't lose out regardless. I recommend it wholeheartedly for genre fans, but... specifically ones who're more open minded.

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