Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season's Greetings

Director(s) - Ryan Stacy (Watch This, Midsummer Nightmares) and Shawn Burkett (The Sleeping Soul, Bludgeon)
Starring - Brittany Blanton (Ladies Night), Amanda Collins (Midsummer Nightmares, Halloween: The Babysitter Murders), and Scott Gillespie (A Shameless Revenge, Bludgeon)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Tis the season...for murder and mayhem"
Format - Streaming (Online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Concept Media is one of my favorite indie production companies out there right now.  Over the years they have released Bludgeon, A Shameless Revenge, The Sleeping Soul, and the anthology film Watch This which features the shorts Ladies Night and Summon which happens to be my two favorite pieces of cinema from the company.  Director Shawn Burkett recently announced that Concept Media would be releasing a new anthology featuring segments from himself and Ryan Stacy.  The anthology is a sequel to Watch This and the segments Ladies Night and Summon along with the Christmas short directed by Burkett titled Elfis about an evil elf on a shelf.  Shawn was kind enough to send a link to an online screener my way.  Thanks Shawn, you sumbitch!
     The film takes place in a small town in Ohio and begins with a young couple (Mike Reeves and the beautiful Brittany Blanton) as they hike through the woods looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  When they get far enough into the woods, the young man swings his ax and cuts his woman down before returning home to clean himself.  In a home across town a small family is trying to survive one another through the holidays when the father figure decides to go to the bar for a few drinks why their asshole son shows off some teenage aggression.  The foxy mom decides to put up decorations before a former boyfriend gives her a call asking for some sexts.  An evil elf on a shelf watches the whole thing and makes her pay with her life.  We then move across town and two young girls are broke down waiting for a tow truck when three men walk past.  They invite the girls back to their place for a little fun but the girls have other plans.  We then go back to the young man who killed his girlfriend who is now home with his other girlfriend when they get a knock at the door.  He answers it and finds his dead lover on the other side.  He panics but she is not the only evil in the home.  His girlfriend raised a demon some time ago and has been on the run ever since and it has now caught up with her.
     There is several things I love about Concept Media.  Their films are always, and I mean always, beautifully shot.  Their films look as if they had a much bigger budget and are always well polished.  That is something that I can rarely say about a no budget indie genre flick.  Both Shawn and Ryan have an eye for beauty and every scene they shoot shows that. They are also known for casting extremely beautiful women.  Over the years they have been lucky enough to have the always beautiful Ayse Howard and Mandy Lou in several of their films.  Season's Greetings is no exception.  The film is, once again, beautifully shot and and full of sexy women.  The acting in this one is great.  Concept Media's regulars Scott Gillespie, Ayse Howard, Mandy Lou, and Erin R. Ryan all knock it out of the park.  They all are comfortable around each other and it shows in their performances.  I particularly enjoyed Scott and Mandy's performance in Ladies Night Before Christmas.  It was very intense and the best performances of the film.  We also get some new faces with Mike Reeves, Brittany Blanton, and Payton  Krebs.  Mike Reeves is a menacing presence and his demeanor is perfect to be a horror villain.  Concept Media really needs to cast him as their next boogeyman.  Brittany Blanton did great as the woman in peril and I could see this young beauty making a name for herself in the indie horror world as a scream queen.  Also, Payton Krebs is extremely beautiful and very talented.  She commanded every scene she was in.  The stories for this one is all continuations of stories set forth in Watch This and the Christmas short Elfis.  Oh! Christmas Tree is the first segment that spearheads into the ending segment Unholy Night which is the follow up to Summon.  The opening sequence was brutal and showed a little gore and a lot of blood.  This segment was a great continuation to Summon and reunited the viewer with two solid characters.  The second story is Elfis 2 which followed a naughty family getting murdered by an elf on a shelf.  This sequel followed the first short very closely and honestly offered up nothing new. The third story, Ladies Night Before Christmas, picks up several years after Ladies Night with two of the ladies returning to kill men on the same street as before.  This segment gave us more of what we saw in the original short with nothing new.  In fact, it uses some of the gags we got in the original which has lost the effect that they had the first time around.  Finally, the film does have several on screen kills.  Some are very graphic and bloody while others are clever shot and mostly take place off camera.  Though the kills are insanely vulgar and graphic, they are ones we have seen before and has since lost their shock factor.  The practical effects are great for the kills we can see.  Overall, Season's Greetings is another well shot film from Concept Media and the minds of Ryan Stacy and Shawn Burkett.  The film looks great and has an amazing cast but the stories do lack some originality.  If you are looking for a Christmas treat then look no further.

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