Kevin Smith's latest film Yoga Hosers received its UK premiere at this year's Edinburgh Film Festival but the director was also here for another film which he collaborated on, the anthology horror/comedy feature film Holidays and here's my review of it.


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Consisting of 8 short films, from various directors, from Gary Shore (Dracula Untold) to Kevin Smith (Tusk), each one revolving around a globally celebrated 'holiday' - going in calendar order starting with Valentines Day, then St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Halloween before wrapping up with Christmas and New Year's - this anthology feature takes these beloved and 'joyous' days of celebration and puts a dark, twisted spin on each one by challenging what we know and believe about these special days. Some of the names starring in the shorts include Lorenza Izzo, Seth Green and Smith's own daughter and Yoga Hosers star Harley Quinn too.
The concept behind Holidays is a good one - put a dark spin on something we would never quite think of as dark - and some of the shorts shine, but, ultimately, the anthology as a whole just falls flat. The tone is so uneven and the shorts feel so disjointed and disconnected from one another. The genre of the film is "horror" yet none of the shorts are scary and are trying to forcefully to create tense atmospheres and cheap jump scares but it doesn't work. A couple of the films are funny, however, but again, the blending of the tone and the genres feels messy and uneven and sporadic even. Perhaps it's a good thing that the shorts are so unique from one another but, at the same time, the film just doesn't quite flow as seamlessly as it should. The flicks themselves are nothing spectacular either. There is a small handful which are a par above the rest, and then there are a couple that are awful, but the majority of them are somewhat competent and pretty disposable.

Anthony Scott Burns' Father's Day segment is the standout, in what is a hauntingly chilling and provocative piece about rekindling things with a lost loved one. It's intriguing and Burns does a good job creating tension and unease and the film has by far the best, most satisfying narrative of the lot. The Christmas segment is also another highlight; the short stars Seth Green as a desperate father wanting to get a gift for his son but doing unjust things to get it. It's incredibly witty and fun but also surprisingly  (and satisfyingly) dark too. Kevin Smith's Halloween is perhaps my favourite, if by no means being the best or most accomplished (Father's Day would win that accolade). Whilst having nothing to do with the holiday in question, the director injects his trademark, dark, off-beat humor into the proceedings to make for the funniest short of the collection about revenge and witchery. However, as far as the good shorts go, that's about it. The Mother's Day and New Year's segments are both truly awful, with the former easily being the worst - it's only 8 minutes long yet still painfully unbearable and tedious; the latter is just boring and exhausting.
As for the rest, they're fine. Easter is just too absurd for its own good, but credit is due to director Nicholas McCarthy for being the only one to implement genuine horror and genuine scares into his short. Valentine's Day is fine, but it's all too predictable and conventional - think Carrie and it's basically a condensed version of that film - and St Patrick's Day has charm but is, again, all too convoluted and wacky and uneven to make it memorable. In the end, Holidays is dark and twisted and is sure to scar the jovial, happy memories for at least one of the 8 holidays - Father's Day or at least what you think the Easter Bunny looks like. But, as a complete anthology film, it's uneven and messy. 3 shorts are good but the rest are forgettable and nothing special really.

VERDICT:
Some shorts are great and Holidays is certainly dark and twisted, but, ultimately, as a complete picture, it feels all too uneven and disjointed to make for a cohesive, flowing and truly memorable collection.


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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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