Directed by: Craig Anderson
Cast: Dee Wallace, Sarah Bishop, Geoff Morrell
Craig Anderson does a fine job of creating a realistic family get together, especially for the Christmas holidays. There’s some light hearted bickering, plenty of warm salutations. The family does a pretty good job of keeping it believable as a unit. So the film really starts off on a high note. If there’s a complaint I can make, it’s that the film is so bright it looks like it is summer as opposed to winter (that eventually changes as the pic progresses). That, my friends, would be nitpicking and I don’t intend to waste a lot of time with that nonsense. The point is, Anderson takes the proper time to introduce a few of the crucial characters. So, now we know a little bit about this family.
Introductions don’t last long, however.
We cut away to an exterior shot in a rural looking location, when a heavily shrouded man with a speech impediment comes along hoping to get directions – to where, we’re not entirely certain of yet, as this character (looks to obviously be the film’s antagonist) does a bit of mumbling, which makes his dialog a little challenging from time to time.
All that noted, it doesn’t exactly seem out of the realm of possibility that this mysterious new character is going to find his way to that lovely house with that lovely family enjoying Christmas. There is going to be some form of conflict here, after all.
Before all hell breaks loose we receive more familial focus, and it is rather interesting. We see a lot of idiosyncrasies boil to the surface. We see deep, long lasting problems. We see a family that is trying desperately to hold their lives together while hoping to find some peace. And then we get a knock on the door, and the mood of the film spins violently out of control rather quickly.
That’s about it for details. Beyond this point I’m entering dangerous spoiler territory, and the story becomes wild enough that I’d be damaging any shock value by elaborating even just a hair. So here’s hoping you’re hooked by what you know thus far, because the remainder of the film is definitely worth looking into.
This is a patient production, and that in and of itself calls back to a long lost time of cinema, where shots were held for impact and beauty. When conflicts were nurtured. These days it’s all explosions and death defying stunts every 90 seconds. Moviegoers today think at a rapid rate, so sometimes films like this that use time and care to generate scares, fail to catch on with younger generations. As a fan of slow burns and vintage films, I can really dive into this one and appreciate it for the nurtured monster it is.
The ensemble as a whole does a fantastic job, and I love the fact that each character remains consistent. There are no unexpected maneuvers from these characters because their physical actions are perfectly aligned with their personalities. That’s a big win, in this book.
Dee Wallace is great, and it’s always a blast getting the chance to see her front a film. She’s always been great, and when she’s got great supporting performers, her work is just that much more enjoyable. The simple recommendation is this: look into Red Christmas, it’s a savagely enjoyable holiday ride through hell.