'Holidays' (2016)

© Vertical Entertainment

Synopsis: An anthology of stories revolving around various holidays.

Cast: Madeleine Coghlan, Savannah Kennick, Rick Peters, Ruth Bradley, Isolt McCaffrey, Peter Campion, Ava Acres, Petra Wright, Mark Steger, Sophie Traub, Aleksa Palladino, Sheila Vand, Jennifer Lafleur, Sonja Kinski, Jocelin Donahue, Michael Gross, Ashley Greene, Olivia Roush, Harley Quinn Smith, Harley Morenstein, Shelby Kemper, Seth Green, Clare Grant, Lorenza Izzo, Andrew Bowen

Directors: Anthony Scott Burns, Nicholas McCarthy, Adam Egypt Mortimer, Gary Shore, Kevin Smith, Sarah Adina Smith, Scott Stewart, Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer

Studios: Vertical Entertainment / XYZ Films

MPAA Rating: R

Running Time: 104 minutes

Release Date: April 22, 2016 (on demand April 15)

Holidays Movie Trailer

Holidays Movie Review

Holidays, particularly Halloween and Christmas, have long been popular settings for horror movies, so it's not surprising there would be an anthology revolving around these festive occasions -- appropriately enough, entitled Holidays.

The Plot

Holidays features eight tales, each dedicated to a specific day:

In "Valentine's Day," directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes), a high school student develops a crush on her diving coach, but she has competition in and out of the pool from a rival "mean girl."

In "St. Patrick's Day," directed by Gary Shore (), a grade-school teacher in Ireland welcomes a new student who seemingly has the power to make her deepest desire come true -- but at what price?

In "Easter," directed by Nicholas McCarthy (, At the Devil's Door), a young girl nervous about the arrival of the Easter Bunny on the night before Easter questions her mother about the nature of the holiday.

In "Mother's Day," directed by Sarah Adina Smith (The Midnight Swim), Kate suffers from a mysterious condition in which she gets pregnant every time she has sex and seeks help from an unorthodox source.

In "Father's Day," directed by Anthony Scott Burns, Carol receives a package that turns out to contain an audio tape of her father, who she'd long been told was dead, providing instructions on how they can reunite.

In "Halloween," directed by Kevin Smith (), a cyber-pimp recruits webcam models, but when his abuse becomes too much to bear, the young women fight back.

In "Christmas," directed by Scott Stewart (Legion, Dark Skies, Priest), a meek husband goes to extreme measures to obtain a prized Christmas gift for his son.

In "New Year's," directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate), a madman who just killed the woman he'd held captive for months begins looking for a new "date" for New Year's.

The End Result

The filmmakers in Holidays boast a strong pedigree and mainstream appeal (including major studio players like Kevin Smith, Scott Stewart and Gary Shore) unusual for an indie horror movie, but the final product lacks the bite, consistency and originality of top-tier horror anthologies. By far the best segment is "Father's Day," which sets up an intriguing mystery with emotional ties that unfolds in nail-biting, unnerving fashion. At the bottom of the barrel is "Halloween," a lazily written revenge tale that basically has nothing to do with its titular holiday.

The rest are middling tales that lie somewhere in between, most showing glimpses of potential that never fully pay off. Some, like "Easter" and "Mother's Day," have wonderfully wacky concepts that peter out, while others, like "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's," are more standard and cliché-ridden but are executed well enough to satisfy.

It's a middle-of-the-road anthology but boasts great energy and a sense of humor that runs throughout, helping make even the mediocre entries watchable -- and with eight stories packed into barely over 100 minutes, they barrel through at a quick pace.

All in all, though, it's the fun central holiday theme that makes Holidays stand out from the increasingly crowded horror anthology crowd more so than its overall quality.

The Skinny

  • Acting: C+ (Solid, but at times overacted, especially in "Valentine's Day.")
  • Direction: C+ (An often energetic, fun tone, but scares are scarce, and the budget shortcomings sometimes seep through.)
  • Script: C- (Some stories lack originality, while most of the ones that bring something unique don't seem to know what to do with it.)
  • Gore/Effects: C- (Not overly gory; some cheap-looking makeup and effects.)
  • Overall: C (Disappointing given the directorial star power, but still a worthwhile watch for horror anthology fans.)

Disclosure: The distributor provided free access to this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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Your Citation
Harris, Mark H. "'Holidays' (2016)." ThoughtCo, Apr. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/holidays-movie-review-4034149. Harris, Mark H. (2016, April 22). 'Holidays' (2016). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/holidays-movie-review-4034149 Harris, Mark H. "'Holidays' (2016)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/holidays-movie-review-4034149 (accessed November 17, 2017).