Santa is just going to skip this house.
Holiday season can just be overwhelmingly annoying. Fortunately, director and co-writer Chris Peckover has created a horror movie that will fuck up your Christmas. Here’s the challenge. I need to tell you how good or fucked up it gets without telling you exactly what happens next.
Have you ever dreamed of the typical holiday movie going haywire? Ever thought holiday movies would benefit of some stabbing and some shooting? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Innocent and naive Luke (Levi Miller) dreams of impressing the older and savvier Ashley (Olivia De Jonge) who’s hired to babysit him tonight. Luke’s best stoner friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) is not helping. Neither are the creepy calls and the shadows that appear outside the house.
It gets darker. This was a great movie to watch in the theater as you can hear the ahh’s and ooh’s of realization whenever the odds start to switch or a major plot twist is revealed. The movie is good about leaving some stuff lying around, either said carelessly or just dropped to use later. The movie relies on the strength of its cast, and I have to say both Levi Miller and Olivia De Jonge really were crucial to make it work.
There’s a quite a few jump scares at the beginning, which are just light salvo but not anything close to the big guns later. The movie does get very brutal as the would-be victims try to escape. Comedic moments are dark but necessary. The serious undertone of the situation will keep you on edge as bodies start to drop, the blood starts to flow and you wonder who’s going to make it out of this one.
Mostly the film does a good job setting a believable scenario, but it does take some liberties later. Some things just line up for the benefit of the killer, to the point that you can tell that if the victims had done something different than expected they’d end up skirting danger altogether.
There’s one flaw in the movie, which ruins it. It’s a girl getting felt up without consent. The circumstances specially make this one an unneeded thing to include, and there’s no redemption for it. I know it’s implied, but because of the participants it’s particularly bad. It’s for this reason that I’ve brought the rating down, specially because it’s not even crucial to the plot. You could’ve left that in the cutting room floor.
Recommended with reservations for horror and shock fans out there, specially the ones that hate Christmas time. The scenes can be very strong, so please don’t think you can spring this movie on kids or your grandmother. As a subversive film, it’s well done to surprise and shock you, which means it won’t have the same effect the next time around. Worth seeing it with a crowd of like-minded horror fans.
That will do for now.