The Advent Calendar on Shudder

Some horror films are so twisted that they are a lot of fun. Even if they deal with something traditionally thought of as innocent. Advent calendars are something most of us have received at one point or another and for the most part they are a lot of fun. Opening up those little doors each day and getting a chocolate or another little item. French director Patrick Ridremont’s film takes that tradition and turns it on its head. In an evil way!

Moral issues crop up aplenty in the 104 minutes of the seasonal horror film. Many horror films have used the Christmas season as their backdrop, but none like this.

An accident happens and former dancer Eva (Eugenie Derouand – Lucky) is now a paraplegic. She has had to live without the use of her legs for three years. Her birthday rolls around and Eva gets a rather unique gift – an antique advent calendar. She likes it, not really paying attention to what is written in German on it. That, despite the fact that they are warnings involving violent threats.

When she opens day one and discovers her sick father’s favourite chocolate, it makes her happy. Eva’s happiness grows when shortly afterward her father, who could not really speak, calls her. Sparked by this wonderful happening she agrees to the calendar’s instructions. This unleashes something she could have never dreamed of.

A winning combination of a horror film is a victim and it being someone who is in some way very vulnerable. In this instance, Eva’s desire to gain back the use of her legs is held over her. A moral dilemma crops up. I mean, you cannot really blame a paraplegic for making a bargain with the devil (?) or an inanimate object. Or is it? It is also hard to judge her as she gets “rid” of some real dirtbags. Not sure any of us would make different decisions than she does.

Most importantly the film holds your attention. Despite all the madness going on. What does hold it back a touch is not really the cast or filmmaker’s fault. It is the money. Or lack thereof. some of the gore or death scenes are not quite as impactful as horror fans might hope. though most of these boo boos are covered up enough by the moral questions, messages, things that make you go “hmmmm?”, and its twisted nature.

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