Red Christmas Movie Review
Written by Simret Cheema-Innis
Released by Red Christmas
Written and Directed by Craig Anderson
2016, 82 minutes, Not yet rated
Dee Wallace as Diane
Sarah Bishop as Suzy
Geoff Morrell as Joe
David Collins as Peter
When a holiday season-themed horror movie comes along, you know it’s going to end up as a merciless journey into absolute carnage. The juxtaposition of merry, happy sentimental moments, strewn with agony and trauma poses a question. Is it better to live or die after epic misfortune?
The story itself is rather gripping from start to finish with an opening sequence taking place twenty years previous with various pieces of news footage depicting protesters outside an abortion clinic and then finishing a report of one such clinic that has been bombed.
Now in the present day, a family reunites at Christmas with sibling rivalry and tensions brewing on the surface. The matriarch of the family, Diane just wants them to have a good Christmas, after all it’s their last before she sells the family home and goes travelling. She faces austerity from her pregnant daughter Ginny who feels like she’s being abandoned and can’t understand why her mother wants to leave. Her other daughter Suzy, however, is a staunch Christian and with her priest husband are more understanding as is her son Jerry who has Down’s Syndrome. Emotions are elevated and Diane desperately struggles to keep her family together and show that she loves them deeply.
But the family drama is soon disrupted by a strange visitor, a weird cloaked man who is in search of his own mother and a secret that will tear the whole family apart... literally.
Red Christmas is compelling viewing, a family drama with brilliant performances, especially by Dee Wallace in the role of Diane, a convincing mother, not just because she, like most mothers would defend her family to the hilt, but in how she reacts to the tragedy that has turned her world upside down. Here we have a psychological personification of a woman who has already loved, lost and continues to live life, but is forced to take the upper hand amongst the mayhem and has to control her emotions to save her family.
There’s a socio-realism aspect to the movie, director Craig Anderson pays careful attention to the family dynamics, each character is completely different with extremely subjective opinions that lead to explosive reactions. It shows that not every family gets along and can prejudice each other in the most aggressive of ways, but in this case religion and morality are the principle themes of the film. It also raises the question of whether past actions should have implications on the present and if so just where does the blame lay when the truth comes to pasture in devastating nature?
The home invasion angle, although quite cat and mouse, is still entertaining, the dialogue between characters, especially Jerry who plays a conscious young man - quite comedic at times - has a depth and realism that will connect with the audience.
Minus the gore, Red Christmas appears like a made for television drama or a film, that you’d see on True Movies. It’s sentimental viewing and all so very tragic that you’re left feeling saddened.
Red Christmas is a good lesson in character studies and how in life you really can’t choose your family, especially when you cross them.