Review: Cameron Macgowan’s “Red Letter Day”

Red Letter Day has a ton of sequel potential and the story-line to be the next big action-horror series. Move over, Purge. So, yeah, I guess that’s how I’m going to start my review of Cameron Macgowan’s directorial debut. Written and directed by Macgowan, Red Letter Day finds a small family getting situated in their new life and new home in a quiet suburbian community. One day, the mother and her two teen aged children receive anonymous red letters instructing them to kill or be killed. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stranger, a neighbor or one of their own. As the family gives in to fear and begin butchering on command, they find themselves in a never ending game of torment and deceit from a source who refuses to show themselves. How will the day end and who will be left when the clocks reset? Red Letter Day stars Dawn Van de Schoot, Hailey Foss, Roger LeBlanc, Tiffany Helm, Kaeleb Zain Gartner and Peter Strand Rumpel. Find it in select theaters on November 1st 2019 and on Blu-ray and VOD starting November 5th 2019 courtesy of Epic Pictures and DREAD. Here’s why you should consider checking out the upcoming title from Tanda Films, Awkward Silencio and Polyscope Productions.

How much can go wrong in one day? Well, in Red Letter Day, a whole fuckin’ lot can go wrong in less than 24 hours! A small town where every house and every lawn looks the same is the perfect venue for a bloody rampage. It shakes the community to its core and can rupture the very foundation its society was based on. So, something like mass murder goes much deeper than the family and friends it directly effected. It’s a grim and interesting plot-line and it’s one I’m glad that Cameron Macgowan had the talent to tackle so accurately. Red Letter Day starts with a real bang, violent and gory, before showcasing its central characters and what every day life is like for them. If you read the small synopsis about this movie before hand, you know an onslaught of crime and terror is on the way, and that’s exactly what happens here. You don’t get a lot of time to find your bearings before the family falls deeper and deeper into depravity and begin to lose themselves in the carnage. When they find their way out, will life ever be the same? Screw picnics, this is one town-wide initiation for the record books!

Red Letter Day was produced by Jason Wan Lim with executive producers Cameron Macgowan, Rhett Miller, Trevor Griffiths and Amy Griffiths. Kyle Cooper and Sara Corry co-produced. Rhett Miller served as cinematographer and Nina Straum served as editor. The picture quality is great, the action is captured perfectly and the acting is far better than I expected it to be. The actors really draw you in to their characters, which makes you pine for their survival. Red Letter Day has a great, continuous concept, just like I stated above, but it’s execution was a little shaky in some areas. I wanted more. I wanted more action, more suspense and more blood splatters. I wanted Cameron & Co to really rattle the audience instead of giving them a peer pressure based horror narrative. Because the boundaries weren’t pushed to their limits, Red Letter Day actually feels like a comedy at certain points. The mood and the story progression didn’t flow coherently with the direction of the overall narrative and the surprises we were promised. If you can’t tell by now, I’m all for a sequel, and if that ever happens, I want Cameron to really solidify what style and atmosphere he wants to create in suburbia Hell.

Irregardless, Red Letter Day is a capable and compelling psychological thriller and one of the best action oriented horror films since The Strangers: Prey at Night. Well done!

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)