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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Review: The Advent Calendar

Director: Patrick Ridremont

Screenplay: Patrick Ridremont

Year: 2021

At Christmas, there is no shortage of horror films that base their story on some characteristic of this celebration. This time, Shudder strikes the first blow by adding “The Advent Calendar”, a French film with the original title “Le Calendrier”, which uses an Advent calendar as the basis for its story. Not only is this one of the first winter horror movies, but it is shaping up to be the best or one of the best that we will possibly have this year.

Eva is a young ex-dancer whose life takes a turn when she develops paraplegia after a traffic accident. As a Christmas present, her friend presents her with an Advent calendar, which Eva soon discovers that each window contains candy and objects that have repercussions in real life. The calendar offers her the opportunity to walk again, but at a very high cost, a decision that Eva is forced to make.

As soon as we see the calendar, we suspect its origin and possible sinister aura, although we must already imagine this from the name and description of the film. However, I bring this to the conversation because this is one of the strengths Patrick Ridremont demonstrates in his direction, the ability to say a lot without boring the viewer with exposition dumps. The ability of this director and screenwriter to tell his story is impressive. 

Then we have the lead actress, Eugénie Derouand, with whom we spent the vast majority of the film, and what a joy it is to spend that time with her. Derouand does a phenomenal job in her portrayal of Eva, and we can't help but delve into the story of this young woman just because of the power of attraction that this actress wields with her talent. The sense in each tense, sinister, and even funny moment is multiplied thanks to her, who can easily be named among the best, if not the best, female performance in a horror movie this year.

The only thing I can point out about this film is that its limited budget, which it should be mentioned that it is handled exceptionally, forces it to present some special effects that are not up to par with the quality of the work that is presented in the rest of the film’s departments. This problem plagues low-budget independent films, and that “The Advent Calendar” largely overcomes but cannot entirely avoid. The villain, who looks like a tribute to Pyramid Head, is also a set of lights and shadows, as he serves his purpose of being terrifying when he has to be but fails to be a memorable one.

"The Advent Calendar" is a pleasant surprise, which Shudder makes available to us while waiting with its chest up to see what the other services can offer. If my opinion is worth anything, I think that others will have a hard time surpassing this film as the best Christmas horror movie this year and that it also flirts with getting on one or two lists of the best horror films of this year. The truth is that it is recommended on my part, and I look forward to the following works by this director and this actress.

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