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Holidays (2016)

An anthology displaying eight different tales, each with a twist to either confuse, amuse but certainly not force you to choose among them as each offered a vastly different outlook than what we might be used to when associating with the Holidays.

Valentines Day: Written & Directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer
Attempting to communicate, delicately at that, the interpersonal relationship between a teacher and their student may seem a sensitive subject on its own. To then condense such to a 12 minute anecdote on why tyrannical groups of girls (who are no Marilyn’s themselves) should always leave the quiet girls of their school alone gave a strong start to the film. While simultaneously introducing an actress who was left with the task of selling mania wholeheartedly without uttering a single word.
Having an entire back story that’s inferred, lead Maxine (Madeleine Coghlan) used her “box-cutter friend” (which was used in her father’s suicide) to prove who was really putting in the most effort when it came to getting Coach Rockwell (Rick Peters) that new heart so badly needed. Nothing truly pushing any limits (on the relations aspect) however the few nods to Carrie (with the PJ Soles lookalike) and the fact that the little b*tch (Savannah Kennick) generally had it coming made me gladly root for the central character the entire time.

St. Patrick’s Day: Written & Directed by Gary Shore
Taking a different approach when it came to discussing the tale of St. Patrick, this story focused on the disappearance of snakes from the country with a combination of “The Lindworm Prince” fable for one sincerely confusing, yet captivating tale.
As Ms. Cullen (Ruth Bradley) took an interest in the new student Grainne (Isolt McCaffrey), who as well had noticed few harbored feelings Elizabeth held towards wanting a child. Sends an ominous message of “Only your deepest wish can make me smile,” as it’s in after an upcoming and wild St. Paddy’s night that begins the 396 day heart-wrenching pregnancy; ending in a field for a celebration once following the otherwise eerie, smiling ginger. Formally introduced to her father, “Danny-fucking-Zuko,” proving she’d finally found an approving and doting mother. Their plan of continuing to populate in hopes of obtaining “pre-patrick day numbers.” A rather…what, the hell…sure to follow the 14 minute segment though one can’t deny the immense talent held from the two leading ladies. With a clever Rosemary’s Baby joke even thrown in, its shot &cut in a way that’ll keep you engaged despite having no idea what’s going on at first.

Easter: Written & Directed by Nicholas McCarthy
Whether celebrating the idea of someone coming back from the dead or enjoying the festivities that came with searching for confetti eggs while receiving a plethora of pastel colored items, there’s always been a clear divide with Easter.
Ultimately left to the parents in how they choose to disclose any information on the matter, this short ventured more into the mother-daughter relationship aspect in which the girl (Ava Acres) badly yearned for the knowledge associated with the holiday. Unaware of all the right answers, quickly sends her daughter to bed with the sentiment that when she woke would find everything the same as the previous year. However curiosity taking over and an honest mistake ends with the little girl forced to reside over the creature she encounters profession; unable to take back the reality seen up-close.
Which held an interesting perspective on not just this time of year but also the grasp that parents may get to have over their child, filling their impressionable minds with really, whatever they may seem fit. Really making you think twice before passing down any information you may be misinformed on.

Mother’s Day: Directed by Ellen Reid & Sarah Adina Smith Written by Sarah Adina Smith We first meet Kate at the gynecologist speaking on possibly being cursed as she was unable to have sex without getting pregnant. Having terminated at least twenty pregnancies, she’d run out of options and is suggested driving out to the desert where the physicians sister assisted in alternative weekend fertility ceremonies, more of a last option at this point. Quickly clear that the intentions of those surrounding her were not to help but rather assist in her finally seeing a pregnancy through to its end as she’s outed as a gateway.
A statement the writer-director wanted to make concerning the primal fear about how in the past women had little say in their becoming pregnant. The lack of control many were given over such a situation and in many cases, forced to relent their bodies over for the good of the bloodline, giving birth until succumbing to anyone of the multiple complications that could arise during labor.

Father’s Day: Written & Directed by Anthony Scott Burns
This next short was instantly a favorite with myself because of its tone and overall, enthralling notion of joining the past with the present. While the ending may warrant more questions than are able to get answered, it was part of the intention in getting to see what others would come up with. After reading an interview with Jocelin Donahue who played Carol, she explained that it was made unaware of what her father may have done in order to pull his daughter with him in what may best be considered the afterlife. The only real info was that it was a girl willing to do anything to see her father again, us mere humans oblivious to the metaphysics involved with such a realm we may encounter. 
Upon receiving a package marked ‘Happy Father’s Day,’ with the contents of a tape recorder marked on both sides, embarks on a journey to find her long-lost father who she’d believed to be dead. A familiar voice detailing in how very sorry he was to have left her alone, entrusting she was left with people who would wait until she was strong enough to receive the contents of such package. Subtle images of planets aligning and giving off a notion of being watched, Carol follows the mesmerizing voice of Michael Gross to an abandoned building. Having thought she’d come to terms with his loss, he explains the importance of leaving and only given a chance to meet ‘Him’ so often. The mere fact that the suspense outweighed the outcome simply threw off an audience more infested in where this writer/director would take them as opposed to what we could configure on our own.

Halloween: Written & Directed by Kevin Smith
Hearing Ian (Harley Morenstein) on the phone with a girl and noticing the ‘lovely’ shirt he was wearing, it’s quite obvious we’re dealing with some self-proclaimed big-time web-cam pimp of Canada. Whose attempt to bring in more girls left him cheery on his way back home despite arriving to find Holly (Harley Quinn Smith), Bree (Ashley Greene) and Serena (Olivia Roush) slumming it on All Hallows’ Eve. With everyone out partying, meaning no incoming calls, they were tired of being made out to be nothing more than whores; Holly standing up for them with the proclamation of getting a group of ‘witches’ pissed off, resulting in Ian getting knocked out and put in an entirely much more compromising position.

Can’t deny that I was looking forward to this segment the most but unfortunately it fell flat overall, especially compared to the others. The actresses were all lovely and beautiful and far be it of me to not love a good ‘ol revenge tale where the woman take reign and show just how twisted we can get. But I saw this more as something Smith could have made into an exploitation film and feature something that played a little bit more into the holiday. Maybe had them dressed as witches from a party that just ended or another idea entirely. It just takes an obvious dip at this point in the film, especially following Father’s Day. But I do enjoy seeing Kevin use Harley more as I’ve been a fan of Epic Meal Time (from their beginning!) and he was certainly handed some of the better lines within the segment. “Always be caming!”

Christmas: Written & Directed by Scott Stewart
Introducing the latest trend in technology, the UvU allowed your imagination to come to life and show you, you. A story many can relate to as Pete Gunderson (Seth Green) found himself waiting until Christmas Eve to run out and find the much-needed product, even unsuccessfully bribing someone who he saw grab the last one. Although…given a chance as that same man would fall to the ground, unable to reach his medication and put Pete in a compromising situation; his tiresome ways compelling him to take the product and run. With guilt sure to catch up to him later he arrives home and hears about how his wife Sara (Clare Grant) had her promotion fall through and that she’d hope he didn’t spend too much on the gift for their son.

Experiencing the UVU firsthand and while at first enticing, switches to show him his dirty deeds, learning the next day about the less than one percent that may undergo an adverse reaction to the device. Confronted by his wife after failing to switch off his account, not only had she’d seen everything but seemed rather turned on by the actions. Waking the next day to find the product near his wife’s bedside and taking a peek himself he finally realizes they weren’t so different when it came to getting what they wanted, no matter who had to be stepped over in the process.

New Year’s Eve: Written by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer Directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer
While we catch Reggie (Andrew Bowen) amid rifling through old photographs of his current captive, he seemed bored with where the relationship had taken him emotionally. Moving on to someone better fitted (according to PerfectMatch), he goes on a date with Jean (Lorenza Izzo) who also admits to wishing the opposite sex was more interested in getting to know more of who she was as a person. Deciding to go back to her place after dinner, he asks to freshen up before taking notice to the rather eccentric details hidden within her bathroom. Seemingly meeting his match its in there after that she comes at him full speed with an ax before the cat and mouse game ends with her getting her way. A hint of the American Psycho aspect to the character though a bit sloppy, the story itself felt like it was missing too much information (I would have liked it a little longer).

Though the film ended on a good image which solidified the role woman played primarily throughout this anthology. A female lead was featured in every short except Christmas which had Seth Green sharing yet ultimately bearing that main role. The same guys that bookend the film originally wrote ideas for Halloween and Christmas, though I was more curious of what the former would entail. But overall the anthology was full of talent and makes you think a bit while going over these festivities as opposed to just having any kind of gimmicky monster try to jump out and scare you.