WHY HIDE? (a.k.a. Christmas Presence) ** UK 2018 Dir: James Edward Cook 85 mins
A group of friends meet up at one of the friends, McKenzie’s old family home. Following the recent loss of her father they decide to all band together and have a quiet Christmas together to console her. Being a rather diverse and bold bunch of characters they spend quite a lot of time bitching about (and to) each other but they soon break out the booze and loosen up a bit. Then Hugo leaves without taking his stuff only to be discovered dead a short time later and their car tyres start getting slashed, Christmas festivities go out the window and panic starts to set in.
McKenzie has kept a secret about her family that eventually becomes clear and they all face a particularly evil spirit. Billed as a horror/comedy this does have a few funny moments and some good characters when it eventually gets going. Orla Cottingham as Jo (“After I’ve puked we’ll make fondue”) a very Welsh, cheese obsessed butch lesbian and William Holstead as Hugo ( “it’s like a Bassett Hound has died on her chest”) the flamboyant catty gay character are by far the best characters in the movie. Charlotte Atkinson as main character McKenzie is ok but she lacks a lot of the presence that Jo and Hugo possess.
It is all well shot and has great set pieces. The soundtrack compositions are excellent and incredibly eerie. By the halfway point things do start to feel quite creepy and it has some good twists and turns to the story. Unfortunately though this feeling of unease slips into cliche and it does lose its edge quite quickly. It gets a bit bogged down with bumping the characters off one by one which becomes slightly tedious. The spirit is well done and kind of looks like a very spidery version of The Babadook which is kind of cool. Not a lot of blood and gore to speak of but a fairly high body count and some great imagery. The fact that it’s Christmas doesn’t really factor into it much so it can’t really be lumped into the christmas / horror genre but at times is suitably festive. I believe this is doing the rounds on Shudder and getting an ok response . It’s nothing really new but it has some good twists, is well shot and quite fun.
Review by Sarah Budd