*Warning, mild spoilers ahead for Shudder’s The Advent Calendar*
A common sight during the holiday season is an advent calendar. Each day, a new door opens, revealing a special treat. The countdown begins a set amount of days before Christmas and acts as a means of counting those days. The advent calendar is a fun tradition for many, but what happens when the gifts seem to possess magical powers? Check out this review to find out.
About The Advent Calendar
Here’s the premise of the newest Shudder feature, The Advent Calendar. A paralyzed young woman, Eva (Eugenie Deround), is given an advent calendar with peculiar instructions. The instructions tell Eva she must follow the rules or perish, no matter what the regulations require.
Thinking it a somewhat silly endeavor, Eva opens the first door and eats the treat hidden within. When strange things begin happening with each delight she consumes, Eva learns quickly to trust the instructions and knows she must follow them to the letter, especially when people start dying. Can Eva beat the game, or will it claim another victim?
The Advent Calendar first premiered at the 2021 London Frightfest and is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. Writing and directing credits for The Advent Calendar go to Patrick Ridremont.
It’s important to note that the spoken dialogue in this movie is not English but French. There are, however, subtitles throughout the film. Since I do not speak French, I cannot say how accurate the subtitles are, but everything seemed to fit well.
While it is a given, there will be blood and guts in a horror movie; some themes warrant a trigger warning. The Advent Calendar contains a scene that I feel needs a heads up to those interested in watching. Fairly early in the film, the main character, Eva, who is a paraplegic, is sexually assaulted. She does not immediately realize he’s touching her because she cannot feel the lower part of her body. When he does not get the reaction he wants, it enrages him to the point he further physically assaults her.
Also, a scene toward the movie’s end is very reminiscent of Of Mice and Men, involving Eva and her father.
Okay, let’s dive right in. I was skeptical of this movie and did not expect a lot from it. This skepticism is mainly because the whole “magical advent calendar” thing has been done before, throughout various genres. However, I was pleasantly surprised. While the underlying premise is unoriginal, the overall story was worth watching. The treats hiding behind each door gave Eva more and more confidence and made her believe the calendar was the ultimate gift.
When it comes to horror movies, one of the most common questions regards the “kill” scenes, at least in my circle. Generally speaking, fans want to know whether or not the scenes are graphic, unique, work well with the plot, etc. Another critical point is whether the imagery looks fake *cough The Blair Witch Project cough* or not.
For The Advent Calendar, I can safely say that some of the kill scenes are incredibly unique! The first one is by far my favorite out of the entire movie. It involves Eva’s dog; the guy referenced a full-sized car and a toy car. It made me giggle, to be honest, not because it was terrible or ridiculous, but because that guy got what he deserved, and I have never seen anything like it before. So, to answer whether or not the kill scenes are good, yes, yes they are.
Concerning the kills, the effects are pretty good. The blood looks like blood; there’s no lingering on wounds, so there are no issues there.
As for the acting, I give it four out of five stars. Is it the best I’ve ever seen? No, it’s not. However, it impressed me enough to watch these actors in other movies and not shy away from them—especially Eugenie Deround, who plays the main character.
There you have it, my take on The Advent Calendar. The story is simple, but the directing is good, the kills are unique and the acting is excellent.
Check out the trailer below and then head to Shudder, where The Advent Calendar is now streaming. Let us know in the comments your thoughts on this movie!
This review was originally published on 12/6/21.