The Advent Calendar is streaming now on Shudder.
In a small Christmas Market in Germany, a beautiful antique advent calendar sits waiting for a new owner, its small wood boxes, hidden compartments and delicious sweet treats a festive riddle for each new owner. But, etched on the back of the box is something strange and eerie “Schmeiß es Weg und ich Werde Dich Umbringen,” or “Dump it, and I’ll kill you.”
Meanwhile, far from the German Market, an ex-dancer named Eva Roussel (Eugénie Derouand) is swimming at her local pool, maintaining her strength following a tragic car accident that took her ability to use her legs – her dancing career replaced by a dead-end job in telemarketing with an oppressive and abusive boss. To add to Eva’s troubles, her father is suffering from the final stages of dementia, but, despite the pain surrounding her, there is a cause for some celebration as Eva’s birthday draws near with her best friend, Sophie (Honorine Magnier), returning from Germany to celebrate as Christmas comes into view.
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As Sophie arrives at Eva’s house, carrying alcohol and gifts, one gift stands out, a beautifully crafted advent calendar. and as Eva opens the first box on the calendar, an ominous message greets her: “If you eat one sweet, you must eat them all.” As Sophie and Eva explore the wooden box, it’s clear that this advent calendar has some stringent rules. But as the mysterious box consumes Eva’s daily life, the truth of its deadly festive game becomes apparent as it asks for her commitment, body, obedience and soul.
Writer/director Patrick Ridremont’s outstanding Christmas horror is both riveting and terrifying as he dovetails elements of Faust with Hellraiser in a twisted exploration of the Christmas wish. Here a good woman must descend into darkness to claim the spoils that lay before her – the “Ich” that haunts her, a physical manifestation of Freud’s Id, Ego and SuperEgo. The Advent Calendar’s mix of tried and tested horror tropes, psychological terror, and folklore feels unique, as does its dark Christmas setting, where the clouds of loneliness cover the glimmering lights.
The result is a devilishly brilliant festive horror that writhes with tension as it asks us a straightforward question: how far would you go for the ultimate Christmas miracle? But, be warned, the answer is far more complicated than it would initially appear as The Advent Calendar leaves us on the knife edge of a much bigger story.