Movie Review: Red Christmas (2016)

Synopsis: 20 years after having an abortion and surviving an explosion at the clinic, Diane is working hard to have one last special Christmas at the home she raised 4 children in before selling the property and going to Europe. However, those plans quickly fall apart when the child she aborted shows up at her door and, after once again being rejected, begins killing everyone inside.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, David Collins, Janis McGavin, Sam Campbell and Gerard Odwyer.

Review: If you have been reading my reviews long enough, you will have figured out my two favorite kinds of movies are horror movies and Christmas movies. And, when I come across one that combines the two genres, I just have to watch it. That was the case with this film, which I discovered on Netflix a couple days ago and finally had a chance to watch last night.

The movie's description was a bit vague but sounded similar to one of my favorite horror movies, Black Christmas. However, after watching it, I found it was nothing like that movie and my overall opinion of it ended up being mixed.

One thing I found I liked about this movie was the way it built the tension/suspense throughout. The killer, Cletus (Campbell), seemed to have a real knack for sneaking up on people and killing them in the bloodiest way possible, whether it was with an ax or using a bear trap. Not knowing where he was meant any casual conversation between the people inside the house had the potential of ending with someone dead and everyone else screaming/running for their lives.

Of course, as is the case in most horror movies, Cletus' victims weren't doing themselves any favors. They kept separating from each other (making it easier for him to isolate someone) and, when they finally found a relatively secure place to hide until the police arrived, they decided to abandon it within a couple minutes (at least give Cletus a chance to prove their safe place isn't so safe).

Cletus' origin story was, at least in my opinion, a little too bizarre to be believable and, at times, this felt like an extremist anti-abortion commercial. However, there are two other things that I really feel also kept this movie from reaching its full potential.

The first is the fact Cletus doesn't begin doing his killing until Diane (Wallace) has him thrown out of the house. This, along with the fact she didn't want him to be born, made him too much of a victim and, at times, it was a little hard not to cheer for him, especially since, despite the circumstances, he seemed like he was the least snobbish of her kids (apparently, whoever rescued him and raised him was a better parent).

I also wish the movie would have kept him under his black robes rather than doing that big reveal toward the end. While I'm sure the writers did that to add a shock factor to the film, his deformed face looked fake to the point it was funny instead of scary (think baby doll head combined with an alien head).

Final Opinion: As I said before, my opinion of this movie is a bit mixed. On the surface, this had the potential to be a good slasher movie. However, the added-in stuff about the killer being a grown-up aborted fetus just made the movie somewhat awkward and, because of that, I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked to.

My Grade: C


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