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Review: Do You See What I See? (2016)

12132478_1693926560890396_5418145092009232067_oWe’re only two days away from December, so it’s not too early for a Christmas horror movie review is it? When it comes to reviewing holiday horror like Do You See What I See?, it’s hard to critique it without drawing comparisons to Black Christmas and Silent Night, Bloody Night; especially when it’s a holiday horror slasher film. But considering the fact that evil elves and Krampus are currently dominating the red, snowy landscape, I’ll take an 80’s styled chest stabber like this any day! Do You See What I See? is equal parts Black Christmas and The Prowler and I can see why it is doing so well in the film festival circuit this fall and winter.

Written, directed and produced by Justin McConnell and Serena Whitney with co-producers Shannon Hanmer and Pasha Patriki, Do You See What I See? is a fun, nostalgic, bloody slasher short made on a budget of $7,500. A film following two sisters who throw a Christmas party that’s crashed by an uninvited and deadly intruder, its lead and supporting cast members are comprised of Caleigh Le Grand (Save Yourself), Jorja Cadence (“Deadly Women”), Adam Buller, Emmanuel Whitney-Alexander, Elliot Dawson-Clark, Annie Carter, Aaron Malcolm and Eastern Yoo.

What I love about Do You See What I See? is how it mixes horror with comedy and real life drama with scary movie suspense. The ugly sweaters, the cattiness, the quips, I found myself enjoying the little gems of sarcasm mixed into the dialogue. I enjoyed that this short film delivers the true reality of Christmas parties and ugly sweater get togethers – everyone pretends to be having fun, but really they’re trying not to die inside. And sometimes families don’t get along at all until they’re pushed to their limits and are forced to work together to conquer a problem – in this case a very ballsy killer who doesn’t hesitate to attack a party of about 25 people. Do You See What I See? is a slasher at heart, but has a lot of other elements that make it a cheery success story.

I keep saying that this short is a slasher, but that’s not 100% accurate. There is an unforeseen twist near the end of the madness. I’m not going to spoiler it for you, but I will say this… The twist is one of the most original things to happen to the Christmas horror genre. We’ve literally never seen the plot twist in a movie like this before and I sincerely would love to see Do You See What I See? adapted into a feature in the near future so this twist can be explored more. Surviving to the end of the movie to experience this won’t be a hard present to open. Do You See What I See? has some good performances, quality independent camera work, loads of blood, old school story-telling and enough holiday cheer to make you down several glasses of spiked eggnog. I’m trying to think of something to give a negative comment to, but I can’t find one based on my first viewing. This is pretty solid and gets my stamp of approval.

final score: 8.5 out of 10

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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