Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 30/08/2021

THE ADVENT CALENDAR [FrightFest 2021]

Former dancer Eva (Eugénie Derouand) has been confined to a wheelchair for a while and still misses her former life. Her friend Sophie (Honorine Magnier) gifts her a vintage wooden advent calendar, which has some rules that come with the gifts within. What she finds is each sweet comes with a consequence. It could be something good happening to her, or something terrible happening to someone close to her. One gift allows her to use her legs, but only for a short time. She becomes convinced that by December 25th, she’ll be able to walk again, even if it means people must die.

Writer/director Patrick Ridremont has crafted a stunning-looking film that is dripping in atmosphere. The ornate advent calendar is a great plot device that is both anxiety-producing and beautiful. There are people who Eva meets that deserve everything they get. A guy who tries to force himself on her meets a nasty end in his car when Eva’s pet dog mangles a toy automobile that pops out of the calendar, for example.

Even as Eva becomes increasingly obsessed with regaining the feeling in her legs, she still has a moral compass. Figuring out what the calendar is capable of, she makes a concerted effort to verbalise that she doesn’t want certain people hurt. It’s a fabulous concept that remains intriguing throughout but is somewhat let down by the climax.

The Advent Calendar is available on Shudder from December 9th.