Christmas horror movies are a thing and The Advent Calendar is the latest entry in this genre. It’s quite refreshing and aesthetically pleasing although it does suffer from certain storytelling issues. We will be following Eva, a young paraplegic girl who gets a strange gift that will change her life. This is French and Belgian coproduction meaning that the movie will have that distinct European taste. I have to admit that I was expecting something a bit edgier with more gore and violence, probably under the influence of New French Extremity.
The Advent Calendar is actually more of a supernatural thriller than it is a horror movie. It blends several popular concepts with a realistic story about life in a wheelchair. That part was excellent without any emotional milking. It just shows how things are in the real world without asking the viewer to feel sorry or sad. We are all people trying to make it to another day. And while you or I can understand this, you can see how others don’t. Some of them you will even meet here. When it comes to the horror part of the movie, there are a couple of clever twists and nasty scenes. However, that’s about it.
I just wish that the rules and whole lore about the “Le Calendrier” was better explained. This along with a bit messy storytelling makes the movie lose its momentum at times. You can also clearly see the structure of the story and the introduction of each new character simply means he will be sacrificed. The approach is too simplistic and only saved by the dark atmosphere and Eugénie Derouand’s stellar performance. She played her role pitch-perfect and I can’t wait to see her in something else. Actually, all of the cast was great. They went gave this movie the seriousness it desperately needed.
After a horrific accident, Eva ends up bound to the wheelchair. Facing adversity every day, she valiantly pushes on. And then, on her birthday, her friend Sophie gives a very special present. A present that’s about to change everything in her life…
Certainly not a masterpiece, The Advent Calendar still has enough of that thick and dark atmosphere to warrant a viewing. Plus, the cinematography was quite sleek and appealing. After all, this is a relatively small production so all in all, I think it turned out quite good in the end. It reminded me of the French curiosity The Swarm that featured a similar vibe and much better storytelling.
Also, you take a look at the European selection of Christmas horror movies. You can start with Dutch Sint from 2010 and finish with Finish Rare Exports. Although it’s an American movie, Krampus is based on Austro-Bavarian folklore so be sure to check it out.