06th Dec2021

‘The Advent Calendar’ Review (Shudder)

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Eugénie Derouand, Honorine Magnier, Clément Olivieri, Janis Abrikh, Cyril Garnier, Vladimir Perrin, Fabien Jegoudez, Jérôme Paquatte, Laura Presgurvic, Isabelle Tanakil | Written and Directed by Patrick Ridremont

Continuing with my Christmas movie reviews for Nerdly, my latest piece comes from Shudder and the festively-titled Christmas horror The Advent Calendar.

Eva, an ex-dancer but now unable to walk and in a wheelchair, gets given an Advent Calendar from a friend. But each window that is opened triggers a real-life repercussion and she must follow a particular set of rules until she eventually has to make a choice that will change her life forever.

It is quite a strange movie. I was expecting a sort of odd anthology of 24 shorts linked with this one woman in a Saw-like way but that’s not what happens. There’s a much better thought out story to The Advent Calendar.

The best moments in The Advent Calendar are undoubtedly the most horror-filled scenes. And although plenty of people will want this to be a horror movie for its full near 100 minute runtime I think it works better with a more occasional creepy or flat-out scary scene. These scenes become so much more because of it and nearly all of them include a really cool-looking villain. With no name and an almost human/alien silhouette silent dark figure, it doesn’t sound the most menacing but it remains creepy in a every second it is on screen. The scene in which it effortlessly drags a man into a lake and his death is genuinely scary and tense, while the moment he throws a naked woman’s body crashing through a wall has a great impact. Maybe I would have liked to have seen more from this figure but as it is, it works great.

No doubt with a bigger budget, some of the death scenes would have been a bit longer and looked a little better. The film-makers do a good job with the limitations but scenes like the car crash and the bath scene, you can imagine what the director would have liked to have added with a bit more money. The ideas behind some of the deaths are really cool and reminiscent of the Final Destination franchise.

A lot of my complaints are to do with how Christmassy the movie is. If your film is centered around Christmas then I personally want it to be full of Christmas themes – the settings, the lighting, the music and much more. Unfortunately this is not the case with The Advent Calendar. Without the calendar you’d be mistaken for thinking this wasn’t set during Christmas time. I wanted the streets littered with decorations, lights and trees, I wanted the Christmas tunes playing or the odd Christmas-related death scene. None of this is present. I did appreciate the snow at the very end of the movie though.

The ending itself might be a little to open-ended for some but I really liked it. As I did with the strange and surrealism of the movie in general. You’re not quite sure if what you’re seeing is real-life at times and it’s never really explained but that is fine.

It’s not perfect but I’ll be happy watching The Advent Calendar once a year in December. It’s original and weird enough for many horror fans to enjoy during the holiday.

*** 3/5

The Advent Calendar is available to watch on Shudder now.


Comments are closed.