Quantcast

Red Christmas (Blu-ray Review)

Are we seeing Holiday Horror becoming “in” or something. Like, is a quick little fad beginning to start? It seems not too long ago we were delivered a splendid little gift in the shape of Krampus, which has become an annual watch come Christmas time for me (Well, okay, for like 2 years, but IT WILL CONTINUE!). Last week saw the streaming release of Better Watch Out, another twisted Christmastime tale. Here, we have Red Christmas (Yes, Black Christmas has already been taken now-TWICE). This one boasts a little bit of comedy and genre icon Dee Wallace behind the wheel of this mayhem. You’ll be able to sink into it when the film arrives on Blu-ray October 17th. So, its gets here in time for Halloween and you’ll be able to revisit it for the holidays. Perfect!

Film 

Diane, a matriarch presiding over the gathering of her squabbling grown children in a remote Outback estate on Christmas Day.  Their petty dramas threaten to blacken the holiday until tensions give way to terror when a deformed and mysterious stranger appears at the door with vengeance on his mind.  Diane must protect her family as limbs are severed and secrets are brought into the light.

Red Christmas had a weird effect on me. This score is my score “for now”. Granted I’m never going to go back and change it, I feel like I need to go back and watch the film another time to see if the potential I saw it in it was there, or if my hankerings that it was just passable were more the true meaning. If anything, there is one reason to watch and the one that took this from a 2 or 2.5 to a three in the score; Dee Wallace.

Dee Wallace must’ve loved this material or been very involved as a producer, because she gives a top flight performance on a horror film with some crazy subject matter and one that’s very exploitative in its deaths. She’s no stranger to horror, but she shows she’s still got it and then some in this film. Her name is above the title, and that’s not just stature, its because her performance overcomes the movie.

While this movie features some cool gore, it has a hard time showing it us. The film also has a very clear message to give us, yet I’m not sure if its saying exactly what we are getting from it. Hidden in this array of an abortion/revenge horror story is some really shoddy camera work that makes things a hard follow. I was excited to see this because there was a comparison to Dario Argento’s look in the pull quotes and really…no. Just because you use filters doesn’t necessarily mean that.

Red Christmas, I don’t think will make an annual holiday watch for me, but its a curiosity and itch that will be scratched again sometime down the road.  This watch was certainly worth it for the Dee Wallace performance alone and its got enough strange and sick stuff going on in it to glorify your curiosity in seeing the film. If you find it streaming, I say give it a shot. Its really short too.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.25:1

Layers: BD-25

Clarity/Detail: For being a modern film shot digitally, its not completely awful by any means, but this certainly harkens to being a very strong DVD transfer at times. Details tend to be strong in moments, like seeing through fabrics or the wrinkles on an envelope. However, the further away something is the softer and smoother it tends to end up looking.

Depth:  Decent depth. it Has enough separation. Movements are natural with minimal blurring or jittering for sharp movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and does its best not to mask any detail, but it does happen. I didn’t witness any crushing during this, but I wouldn’t put it past that there could have been an instance I missed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are one of the strong suits here. Reds, purples and greens look pretty strong. Where it highlights more are when the cinematography gets more arthouse and uses a lot of strong colored filters, trying to be an Argento film.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the film, from beginning to end. Facial features are stronger in the close up shots than anything else as medium and far shots tend to smooth out detail. In close ups you get some wrinkles, lip texture, facial texture, dimples and blemishes.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Unfortunately the film comes with a compressed 5.1 audio track. Its loud though, and pretty clear. For what its worth, being what it is, its pretty good. It makes up for not being uncompressed by making some good impact on kills and music stings.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer hits pretty nicely with impalements, bear traps collapsing, gunfire and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: Its a pretty front heavy mix here. Back and forth runs very good. Rear speakers are mainly used for ambiance.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is loud and clean.

Extras 

Commentary

  • With Director Craig Anderson

Dee Wallace Speaks! (SD, 19:43) – The iconic actress sits down with the director. We are warned about how the video may go out of focus because of shoddy camera work by Craig Anderson. Its not so much of an interview as it is a discussion with the two (He’s off screen but speaks). She describes how she came into the film, some changes she wanted and go over, in detail all the aspects of the film.

Interview With Gerald O’Dwyer (SD, 9:57) – One of the actors and director Craig Anderson go to the house of the actor in the film with Downs’ Syndrome and answers questions that the cast and crew had sent in.

Blooper Reel (HD, 3:26)

Deleted Scene (HD, :45)

Craig Anderson Mini-Interview (SD, 1:40) – A quick improvised interview on the street by the producer and the Downs’ Syndrome actor who shoots him a quick couple questions.

Summary 

Red Christmas is solid, but most of its pluses and reason to watch goes to that of Dee Wallace. The film has a solid video and audio presentation and an okay slew of extras. They’re worth it mainly for the interview with Dee Wallace who just shows what a terrific person she is. I’d say rent this one before you buy it, but its currently eleven bucks to buy on Amazon, so its may just be worth it for the blind buy.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments