Hey gang, Valkor here. As much as I love horror films, lately there hasn't been many to have crossed my desk that has truly piqued my interest. Don’t get me wrong, “Welcome to Willits” was pretty good – good enough that it warranted an editor’s choice award. But it’s good in a twisted and weird kind of way. However, this next film on deck, Red Christmas, shook me to my core and I loved every scary minute of it!
“Red Christmas” centers on mom Diane (Dee Wallace) and her family who are gearing up to spend their final Christmas in their family home before it's sold and Diane moves on for a much-deserved European vacation. While there’s some resistance from the soon-to-be mother, Ginny (Janis McGavin), the rest of the family seems to be on board and try their best to keep things festive. However, things take a turn for the horrific when an unexpected guest shows up at the door, dressed in a black cloak and bandaged from head toe. His name is Cletus (Sam Campbell) and he brings with him a message simply addressed to “mother”. Who is it for exactly? No one in the family knows. But when he reads his message out loud, what he has to say is enough to piss off Diane and get him tossed out on his kiester with the quickness. And that’s when the murders start, as Cletus starts picking off the family one by one by one. And dude isn’t leaving until he’s done what he came to do, which is to confront Diane for her past transgressions. The family doesn’t know her secret or her connection to Cletus, but will they live long enough to find out?
Red Christmas was written and directed by Craig Anderson, who is no slouch when it comes to appearing in front of or behind the camera. However, from his IMDB page, this looks to be his first feature. And if that’s the case, kudos my man, you’ve got yourself a winner! Red Christmas also brings in legendary actor Dee Wallace, who has starred in some of my favorite films such as E.T., Critters, Cujo, and The Howling. She’s an 80s goddess, who is just as gorgeous as the day is young!
Red Christmas might not have started out as well as I would have liked, but this is one film you have to stay with until the end because the pay off is immense! It’s been a good while since I’ve sat down and watched a really good, edge-of-your-seat style horror, and this one delivers in all of its gory goodness! Especially the ending, which was jaw dropping! The story is fairly straightforward and easy to follow, and I have to admit that even the clunky beginning serves a purpose as it helps to kickstart all of the messy bits that take place onward. The pacing is on point, as this 82-minute frightener never really lets up. The gory bits will definitely elicit a squeal or three because I know I let out a couple of yelps at some unexpected parts (Scott getting an ax down the middle of his skull was one of those moments). Finally, I thought the performances were on point and everyone brought their A-game to this one. Especially headliner Dee Wallace, who deserves a standing ovation for making this horror film a real treat. In the end, Red Christmas is an instant classic and it’s one you don’t want to miss!
This is me nitpicking, but I didn’t care for Cletus’s voice; I was kind of expecting something deep and raspy, but in the end, it came across more like the Elephant Man. However, if that’s the direction where the character was going, then I give it mad props!
Cletus sans bandages – yikes!!
Red Christmas is getting a nationwide release on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital media on October 17th. And if you’re looking for a classic style horror that’s as intense as it is enjoyable, then look no further because you’ve found it! And it’s one film I highly recommend it. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Red Christmas a 4.5!