The Advent Calendar (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Advent Calendar (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Bleaz79 on November 29th, 2021 | Movie Review | Christmas, Supernatural, Holiday, Folk Horror

Add The Advent Calendar (2021) to your Watchlist

Add to Watchlist

You need to login or register to add this movie to your horror watchlist.

It’s about Eva, a wheelchair bound former dancer, who is gifted a German advent calendar, with each door that is opened leading to happiness or trauma, and the dancer having to choose between personal loss or being able to walk and feel again. It debuts exclusively on Shudder on the 2nd of December 2021.

The Advent Calendar was directed by Patrick Ridremont and stars Eugenie DerouandHonorine MagnierClement OlivieriJanis Abrikh and Cyril Garnier among others.

This year, Christmas is going to be deadly

The Advent Calendar Review

A French, festive horror that has the protagonist follow rules like Gremlins but overlays it with the seeming innocence turning dangerous of the “The Christmas Party” segment of Dead Of Night and the psychological confusion of The Lodge.

Christmas set horrors usually fall into three categories, psycho/monster slasher, psychological horror thriller or folk based horror, The Advent Calendar is one that is a combination of the latter two. The calendar of the title harkens to German folk tales of otherworldly events at Christmas time, not Krampus but something more bloodthirsty simply known as Ich; while the events that take place as a result of each door opening cause our heroine to initially question her sanity before escalating to desperation to obey the rules or die.

The film develops its main characters steadily over the film, meaning they are rounded and relatable and the peril they find themselves in causes you to actually care about what happens to them. It’s a film that relies more on atmosphere than brutal or graphic shocks, though there are a couple of moments where the violence of Ich hits hard. Simple and effective camerawork (with a couple of neat tricks thrown in for good measure) combined with a low key score, that hits jarring notes when required, enhance the feelings of confusion and dread of Eva as she struggles to come to terms with what is happening because of the calendar.

That’s not to say the film isn’t without faults, Ich is visually introduced in physical form too early which removes some of the mystery from the calendar; Eva initially comes across as cold and unsympathetic meaning that it is difficult to warm to her at first; and a couple of side characters are one dimensional that they almost stretch to caricature at some points. The biggest issue is that the rules established at the beginning are ignored or broken on more than one occasion so that everything that happens fits the narrative, which is frustrating because events that should have a bigger risk attached are immediately sapped of that risk.

These downsides do affect the pacing of and investment to the film but not too much to its detriment or to become a distraction, just some more judicial editing and writing would have benefitted it on these points.

Worth Watching?

Very much so, despite a few faults, it’s a clever, atmospheric horror that gives you something different to the usual Christmas scares and is one of the better Shudder Exclusives available on the streaming site.

The Advent Calendar Review (2021) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

Would it Kill You to Subscribe?

Get horror news, reviews and movie recommendations every Friday!

We respect your email privacy