REVIEW: The Advent Calendar a.k.a Le calendrier (2021)

dir. Patrick Ridremont

Horror has never been short of Christmas delights, The Advent Calendar being the latest to join the ranks of the Ghoul-tide subgenre. Patrick Ridremont’s sophomore outing is an oddly charming affair, modern fairy-tale clashing with more grounded trauma.

When the titular calendar comes into the possession of Eva (Eugénie Derouand), a former dancer who is now paraplegic, over the course of the festive month her life is reshaped by its supernatural power, bringing both pain and pleasure, and showing – as is often the case – to be careful what you wish for.

An accomplished ensemble is led by a captivating Derouand, whose lightness of touch works particularly well in the first half, making for some surprisingly breezy comedy even as terrible deeds take place on screen.

As compelling as The Advent Calendar is, it’s a somewhat overstretched, with perhaps not enough narrative to fill the run time. It’s also guilty of occasionally falling on some of the genre’s worst tropes, with an attempted car attack threatening to leave a bad taste in the audience’s mouth.

But for the most part Ridremont’s film is a strange, compelling and endearing ride, right up to the memorable finale.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Russell Bailey

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