Combustible Celluloid
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With: Charlotte Atkinson, Elsie Bennett, Lorna Brown, Mark Chatterton, Orla Cottingham, William Holstead, Danny Webb
Written by: James Edward Cook, Karen Taylor
Directed by: James Edward Cook
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 85
Date: 12/18/2018

Christmas Presence (2018)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Scary Ghost Stories

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This Christmas horror double feature — All the Creatures Were Stirring and Christmas Presence — dropped in 2018 on the streaming service Shudder; neither is particularly great, but both are worth a look. All the Creatures Were Stirring is an anthology film with a great wraparound segment. On Christmas Eve, the lonely Max (Graham Skipper) and Jenna (Ashley Clements) meet for a date at a local theater, offering a bizarre avant-garde holiday play. The stories are, typically, inconsistent, but one, about a last-minute shopper who is locked out of his car, is terrific. Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil) and Constance Wu co-star in other segments. In Christmas Presence, McKenzie (Charlotte Atkinson) — who suffered a childhood trauma — invites a group of friends to a remote house for the holiday. They drink heavily and try on lots of luxury underwear, and then they begin dying, one by one. The Christmas setting here is more incidental than anything (the original title was Why Hide?) but the movie is still notable for its variety of LGBTQ characters.

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