Horror legend Dee Wallace (The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, E.T., Cujo, Critters) stars as the stressed-out mother of a squabbling family, gathered together in a remote Outback estate on Christmas Eve. When a mysterious, deformed young man named Cletus appears at their door, things soon change from petty insults to bloody imaginatively orchestrated violence as Wallace attempts to protect her family from the vengeful intruder. This film deliriously infuses comedy, dark family secrets with outlandish gore and adds the always controversial subject of abortion in its blood-stained mix.
Dee Wallace plays Diane, the matriarch of a family who just cannot seem to get along. All Diane wants is to get through the holiday without any major family damage but that does not seem in the cards for her this year. You see, several years back, Diane had an abortion and the fetus managed to survive. He arrives at the door looking for his mother, only to be rejected once again. This drives Cletus, the survivor fetus, into a vengeful rage and he is determined to kill them off one by one.
For the most part, the film was enjoyable. The family was mostly hilarious in their bickering, with Uncle Joe (Geoff Morrell) being the best part. The fighting, however, makes it tough to genuinely care for most of the characters, so you don’t care much when Cletus kills them off. Everyone who dies seems to walk right into their own creative deaths, which were very brutal but incredibly spaced out. You spend more time waiting for someone to die than actually watching it happen.
The makeup on Cletus was…..low budget. Now, this was a low budget film but perhaps a bit more money could have been allocated to the makeup budget, which matters. Sure, fans enjoy a good death scene, but that can easily be destroyed by a cheap and obvious mask.
In the end, it is hard to understand if you are supposed to be pro or anti-abortion after watching. I suppose you could make a strong case for either side considering both Diane and Cletus’s actions but the film doesn’t make it clear what side they are on or are trying to promote. Perhaps that was the point all along.
Red Christmas is not like the other Christmas horror films you’ve been binging for years. I strongly recommend watching the film with a group as you will find yourself scrutinizing far too much on your own. The funny comments from your friends and the group laughter will certainly make the film that much more entertaining for you.
All in all, Red Christmas is fun to watch but certainly not on the level of Black Christmas or many other holiday horror films we have come to love. Watch with a group, maybe a little alcohol and enjoy it for what it is.