This Australian slasher gory horror comedy drama (yes, I’m being serious) might as well be titled Green Christmas, or Bluish Christmas.
The reason being that “red” is not only an attribute related to the blood spread in the movie, but a prevalent theme colour – alongside blue and green – that accompanies the viewer throughout. Red Christmas is, indeed, a surprisingly colourful movie with shades that resemble typical Christmas colours.
I guess the title and this colour scheme is what makes this flick a perfect Christmas movie… if you won’t watch it surrounded by people who despise gore, violence and deformities, that is.
Let’s back up a bit: in the movie Matriarch Diane (aka Scream Queen Dee Wallace) invites her children to celebrate one last Christmas in their family home. Amid celebrations and domestic drama, they receive a visit from a mysterious stranger who’s wearing a cloak to “keep his skin together” – they feel really sorry for him at first, but when he brings up some anti-abortion mumble-jumble they kick him out without second thoughts. Something they probably shouldn’t have done.
Let me get this straight: Red Christmas is not a good movie, although it does have seeds of a good film somewhere, for example, the first 20 minutes are well executed, tense and comedic all at once.
However, the remaining of this slasher flick (which runs for barely 80 minutes) is a mess, in terms of story, tone and, mostly, technical features.
Since I don’t want to give anything away plot-wise, I will skip the inconsistencies and focus more on tone and technical aspects of the direction. Although, as I said, Red Christmas is just a disposable flick, I think you should watch it if you’re in for some mindless, gory and laughable entertainment.
The look and feel of this film bugged me quite a bit: within the first twenty minutes, I went from laughing my ass off to the absurdity of certain sequences, to the sadness and depression for the troubles the “stranger” had gone through in his miserable life. After this first act, the movie devolves in a mess that combines comedy, gore, violence, social commentary, drama and so on.
This weird combination wouldn’t be an issue per se, but it becomes annoying when you struggle to understand whether a scene was meant to be funny or the director just fucked up and, thus, gave us some accidental amusement.
The cinematography suffers from this confusion, ranging from a Dario Argento’s Suspiria kind of feeling, to a Peter Jackson’s Braindead type of vibe. On top of that, there’s a constant reliance on dutch angles and dolly shots that shouldn’t be there.
Plus, and this truly made me laugh, there are a few steady shots of feet like the director is some sort of fetishist with a thing for them.
On the contrary, the practical effects are awesome, following the solid roots of Australian gruesome cinema: some of the killings are extremely memorable and I couldn’t help but respect the makeup team for crafting them.
All in all, I must admit I didn’t hate this movie, despite many issues. Again, I would strongly recommend it if you’re down for a twisted Christmas tale that doesn’t necessarily need to make sense. Merry bloody Christmas horror freaks!