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Holidays (2016)

I love anthology horror movies. This, like many, has ups and downs.

Surviving the holidays...

Unlike most anthology movies, this one has no wrap-around segment. There are eight tales, each differing in quality, and each focusing on a different holiday.

There are several middling efforts. St. Patrick's Day, directed by Gary Shore (Dracula Untold), tells the story of a teacher desperate for a child, who falls pregnant with assistance from a creepy little girl. The performances are strong, but the ending odd, and left me wanting more. Mother's Day, fell into weird, with a woman who couldn't stop getting pregnant, and is then kidnapped by a cult. Again, the ending let it down. New Years, a serial killer, looking for love on the last day of the year finds more than he expected. And Easter. Directed by Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact) tells of a strange incarnation of the Easter Bunny. The ending let it down.

So there's a pattern to the average segments. Poor endings. Which is frustrating to say the least. The direction was good across them all, and pretty strong performances. It was as if none of the film makers had seen or read this sort of material before. Still. It could be worse.

Madeleine Coghlan in Valentine's Day

So, the bad.

Christmas. I really wanted to like this one. Directed by Scott Stewart (Priest) and staring Seth Green, it was a simple story of getting a VR headset that purported to show you your true self. How a short can leave you with some many questions, is unimaginable. That, and having no ending. Actually, there was little middle.

And the worst.

Poor Kevin Smith. Halloween. Starring his daughter (of course) it told the tale of Cam-Girls getting revenge on their 'pimp'. Smith has written and directed some of the finest movies. This, however, is a mis-step matched only by Cop Out. Which is sad, because it actually does tell a story. It has an ending. It's just not very good. And I know he likes to put her in things, but Harley Quinn Smith is not a great actor.

Ruth Bradley in St. Patrick's Day

But, then the good.

The opening segment, Valentine's Day is the old story of a young girl having a crush on her teacher. And murdering people. Directed by Kevin Kolsch, the film has strong undertones of Carrie. Well acted by a young cast, and confidently produced. It has a beginning, middle, and end, and is a fantastic start.

By far the superior story, however, is Father's Day. Told almost entirely by a voice playing on a tape recorder (Michael Gross) and emoted wonderfully by star Jocelin Donahue in a near silent performance. A solid story, oozing with style and foreboding. Director Anthony Scott Burns should be proud.

It's a mixed bag, but worth watching.

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