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Dan Bernardi
[intro-text size=”25px”]Tired of the same monotonous review schemes, I volunteered for a series of alternative, high-tech experimental procedures. Monitored by the Director and crew, I am mentally displaced and implanted into a myriad of cinematic simulations, or “cims”. Fully absorbed for the duration of each run time, the sole mission is to report my findings from within the scenes. These reports are known as Total Review.[/intro-text]

– SIM #1003 – “HOLIDAYS” – 105 mins. – release: Apr. 22th, 2016 –

It’s a slow week at the lab. The theater emulator doesn’t have shit to offer so I decide to utilize my at home cim pod and check out what’s fresh on VOD. I jack myself into the virtual optic display and have my choice of streaming releases. Let it be known that I am a horror fan. I love feeling scared when it’s a safe environment, but I’m also the kind of weirdo that can laugh at the peak of a violent splatterfest. So I opt for Holidays, a new comedy-horror anthology from a compendium of unique Directors, most notoriously, Kevin Smith. I hope to be equally tickled and terrified as I hit play. The stream begins.

It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m on a girls’ high school swim team. Up on the diving board is Max, the awkward and silent butt of every joke. The other girls on the team are stereotypically horrid, but Heidi is the worst. Her insults fly often and cut deep. I hide back in my red one piece swimsuit and don’t get involved. On the surface it appears to be your standard teenage bullying scenario… but this is horror. No sin is left unpunished, and if you think the day was going to end with roses and chocolate… nope.

After a brief and bloody taste of Holidays’ fucked sense of romanticism, I’m ushered away to Ireland for the feast of St. Patrick’s. I’m not in a pub, but an elementary school, where I spectate the day to day life of grade school teacher Ms. Cullen. What starts off as an basic routine quickly turns into a nightmarish downward spiral for Cullen. Being a teacher’s aide is neat, unless that teacher is told she’s pregnant with an inhuman, unidentifiable reptilian creature. I’m struggling to tell what’s real, but in retrospect, Cullen’s story is possibly the most bonkers of them all.

Before I can figure out what the hell I just experienced it’s the night before Easter. I’m peeping in on a mother tucking her daughter into bed, sharing an odd mythos about the Easter bunny. Once her daughter is sufficiently horrified, the lights go out and the fun starts when an unexpected visitor shows up. As anticipated, this is not a Cadbury-laying cuddly white hare, but a devilishly bastardized rendition of our favorite fluffy holiday icon. I was blown away by his appearance and left wanting more, but was instead thrust further along the calendar rabbit hole.

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I spent Mother’s Day with a group of women, one of whom gets pregnant every time she has sex. That’s rough, and things turn sinister, fast. Father’s Day wasn’t any less strange. I traveled with a young lady across a desolate city, listening to her dad’s voice on a tape recorder, being led towards… something that eventually scared the shit out of me. Halloween was surprisingly void of the supernatural, but was instead a funny yet cringe-inducing revenge plot by three mistreated Canadian web cam girls. Finally, Christmas reminded me that materialism can really bite you in the ass, and New Year’s Eve was… killer.

The cim ended and I unplugged myself with a smile on. It was a thrillingly demented ordeal. A good anthology is the sum of its parts, and Holidays is a hyper, dirty little cavalcade of fears that doesn’t give you the time to get bored with any of its rapid-fired original stories. If you’re in the market for some brutal kicks and a few laughs, Holidays is definitely worth celebrating with your freakiest of friends and family. Check out Holidays in limited release and VOD today.

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