The Movie Waffler New Release Review (DVD) - RED CHRISTMAS | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (DVD) - RED CHRISTMAS

red christmas review
A family experiences the Xmas from hell after inviting a stranger into their home.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Craig Anderson

Starring: Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, Janis McGavin, David Collins, Sarah Bishop

red christmas poster

I love Australian horror. From Wolf Creek to Black Water to Lake Mungo to Killing Ground, my country has a rich history of making excellent scary movies.

This is not one of them.

Red Christmas starts with a highly offensive blathering by anti-choice crazies who have just infiltrated and bombed a women’s hospital and somehow taken one of the aborted foetuses, which is inexplicably not only alive but seemingly viable (yeah right).

red christmas

From there we head into Christmas preparations with a multi-cultural and diverse family overseen by mother Diane (the always good Dee Wallace) and her second husband, pot head Joe (Geoff Morrell).

Each grown child is introduced - Down Syndrome afflicted Jerry (Gerard O'Dwyer); daughters uptight Suzy (Sarah Bishop), pregnant and chilled out Ginny (Janis McGavin) and arty Hope (Deelia Meriel) and their respective partners - as they return home to spend one last Christmas in their childhood homestead before it is sold.

Not long after that, their future tormentor is welcomed into the melee as travelling stranger Cletus (Sam Campbell). Why you would ever invite into your home a dirty smelly stranger covered in bandages and dark robes is beyond me, but it’s the least of the silly things these people will do, so best to just accept it and move on.

After he starts spouting anti-choice rhetoric, he is expelled from the house where he waits for nightfall and then just starts picking them off one by one.

red christmas

This is the case with nearly every slasher film you’ve ever seen, and the deaths are usually the ‘fun’ part. Some are successful - two axe deaths I didn’t see coming and were suitably vicious, though the camera stayed away from the aftermath, mainly I’m guessing due to budget; and the umbrella death was actually really great. One in particular though is just plain silly - a blender? Really?
The effects themselves also leave a lot to be desired.

The lighting is garish and senseless, especially considering they have had a power cut. The script is sloppy and obvious.

Written and directed by a heavy handed Craig Anderson, there are some positives - Wallace anchors and elevates the movie with her decades of experience in the genre, which is obvious in every scene; I enjoyed the Aussie larrikin humour; Shakespeare quoting Jerry was a new character for horror; the laid back couple with their sex and drugs were refreshing; the family bickering, as real families do; and the cell phone hiding plan was unique and clever.

red christmas

Points are earned with the great title card which sports an ‘80s exploitation font, and so it lulls you into thinking that maybe that opening was an aberration and perhaps you are headed for a good time, but its dark and heavy undercurrent of nasty judgmentalism kills any fun to be had.

The ending itself is troubling and frustrating, not at all the wry cynicism Anderson was likely going for here.

Ultimately, the movie's condemnatory and seemingly anti-abortion tone is offensive and leaves a bad taste in your mouth; not to mention its glib handling of disabilities.

Like a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking, this is overall just an unpleasant and disappointing experience.

Red Christmas is available on DVD/blu-ray October 17th from Artsploitation Films.