The Holiday Calendar (2018)

“Each day a door opens and the toy inside matches something that happens.”

As festive and jolly as it is flat and hollow, The Holiday Calendar is a seriously abysmal film destined to be streamed into millions of homes around the country while cookies are decorated and presents are wrapped. That shouldn’t be an earth-shattering surprise, for most movies of this breed – the twee, sappy, sentimental holiday outings – don’t seem concerned with being all that good in the first place. The Holiday Calendar fits that description and while it might be harmless background noise during the Christmas season, I’d advise against penciling it into your schedule.

The Holiday Calendar diligently checks off the necessary list of clichés so common to this brand of made for TV rabble. Abby Sutton (Kat Graham) wafts around in a dead-end job, aspiring to be a renowned photographer despite showing little skill outside of taking Santa portraits. The town where she lives is a postcard of a bygone era lined by brick buildings, lit with endless strings of lights, snow always on the ground, somehow exuding warmth in the Winter months. Abby’s best friend Josh (Quincy Brown) returns home and they’re almost too perfect for each other, although neither acts on the impulse. The movie is overly predictable, which isn’t an outright bad thing. It is seriously bland though, which is never a good sign.

Abby’s beloved Gramps (Ron Cepha Jones) gifts her the titular calendar and behind each door is a little trinket which manifests itself in a part of her day. She takes these as a sign to start dating Ty (Ethan Peck), a guy so squeaky clean and perfect that you can just as easily imagine him being a serial killer courting his beautiful prey. It should go without saying that their fling induces nausea, so completely lacking in chemistry or candor. And that goes for the rest of the movie as a whole, too. The Holiday Calendar offers its audience strained smiles, fake tears, and a charade of what Christmas really means. Sure, the picture has been carefully gift-wrapped, but the box is completely empty.

The Holiday Calendar is yet another example that Netflix has firmly moved into the holiday genre previously dominated by the Hallmark channel, bringing with them a loftier budget and more resources. This movie certainly looks convincing with its abundance of decorations and design, but the script somehow manages to be worse than even the most trite offerings on television. Brimming with hokey dialogue and enough false sincerity to stuff a stocking, The Holiday Calendar is one engagement you’re better off skipping for something else.

“It sounds like the Christmas equivalent of having your horoscope read.”

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

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