Plot: Diane (Dee Wallace) is hosting a Christmas gathering for her family, likely the last one to take place at the longtime family home. Most of her children have moved out or have plans to start their life paths, so she decides to make some time for herself and that involves selling the family’s home. The decision was a hard one to make, not to mention the choice to put her son Jerry, who has Downs Syndrome, into an assisted living facility once the sale is finalized. The situation has sparked some resentment from some within her family, but she is determined to host the best holiday party she can, drama or no drama. While the family gathering unfolds, a mysterious man shuffles about outside and slowly makes his way toward their home, cloaked in darkness and unafraid to unleash violence on those he encounters. Who is this strange person that lurks in the cold night and when he knocks at the family’s door, will a lethal darkness be cast over what should be an evening of bonding and togetherness?
Entertainment Value: This is not your typical holiday slasher movie, instead Red Christmas is a stylish, often dark look inside family dysfunction and what happens when long dormant secrets return to the surface. The movie still has plenty of horror elements of course, but it is by no means just another holiday themed slasher flick. The story centers on a family on the brink of change, which leads to high drama, arguments, and general dysfunction, but movie also touches on religion and in specific, abortion. This proves to be a crucial element in the plot in fact, which isn’t common in cinema in general, let alone horror. Dee Wallace heads up the cast and turns in a strong effort, with great screen presence and she carries the movie well. The rest of the cast is colorful and mostly fun to watch, but Wallace is the anchor here and her performance really helps Red Christmas stand out. I also enjoyed the visuals here, especially the scenes that featured hyper saturated color presence. I do think the pace is a slow at first, but the characters are interesting and things don’t take long to ramp up, plus the exposition is integral to the narrative. Red Christmas deals with some sensitive subjects, but does so well and ends up as a rock solid horror movie. Wallace is great, the gore is fun, and the movie packs some terrific style elements. So if you want a holiday horror movie that paints outside the usual lines, give this one a spin.
A nice, hairy man ass is visible at one point, but no other nakedness. This scene is quite fun, as we have a priest trying to spy on a frantic bathroom rendezvous, only to be caught in the act and offer awkward excuses. The blood is good in this one, including a few really memorable set pieces. The highlight for me was a scene where blood pours out of someone’s eye sockets, just a beautiful moment. Another scene offers some Lone Wolf and Cub level fountains of bloodshed, which is always welcome. But that’s not all, as we have assorted other moments of violence, someone sliced in half, gun shots, and of course, death by umbrella. The movie ramps up the carnage toward the finale, but it is not some unrelenting buffet of gore, as some reviews claim. But fans of the red stuff have a lot to be excited about here, I think. Frequent readers know my affection for family drama and dysfunction, elements Red Christmas has a good amount of, especially in the earlier scenes. The family banter is humorous, then takes a more dysfunctional turn and while it never devolves to Lifetime levels of melodrama, some Dr. Phil advice wouldn’t kill these people. Not a wealth of big money, quotable type lines, but fun family drama that later on takes some dark turns. The writing is more than solid, so don’t let the low score fool you, as we only score wild, quotable, or outlandish dialogue. In terms of craziness, the core premise is pretty wild once the pieces fall into place, plus the creative gore, dysfunction, and of course, the golden shower. So not totally off the rails, but it does earn some insanity points.
Overall Insanity: 3/10