As any horror film fan will know, there are a dizzying amount of subgenres. Even certain subgenres have subgenres like slasher films. One of the most entertaining is most certainly the holiday slasher. Numerous holidays have been used but the ones most of us will think of revolve around Christmas. SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, BLACK CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS EVIL are a few that come to mind and are considered by many to be classics. In this modern age, it’s so fantastic to see the new breed of filmmaker draw inspiration from the films which helped to define many of us. There’s a new Christmas slasher film on the block, it’s called STIRRING, and it’s really damn good.
Danielle (Hailey Strader) has pledged a sorority, the same one her sister belonged to when she was murdered. In fact, she’s living in the same house where the hideous event took place. It’s a means of therapy for her and while it’s difficult at times, she really enjoys being there. Everyone is preparing to head home for Christmas but not without having a big party first. Her best friend Kayla (Heather Bounds) wants nothing more than to have the perfect Christmas bash. Even with the party preparation taking up her time, her first priority is to make sure Danielle is handling everything alright since Christmas time was when her sister was murdered. Her boyfriend Kyle (Billy Brannigan) is just as concerned, especially after she receives a threatening email. With the Christmas party in full swing, the bodies begin to pile up and Danielle is at the center of it all.
STIRRING is the sophomore feature from writer/director, Troy Escamilla. His first feature (which I have yet to see) was a film called PARTY NIGHT and is being released later this year. For a second feature, Escamilla directs with confidence. He has a very strong eye for detail and knows how to really create an entertaining atmosphere. I’ll be honest, this isn’t high art or anything, it’s standard slasher fare, but it’s done in a loving manner. You get the vibe right away, everyone is all in, giving their best performances and having a blast doing it. The cast was comprised of newcomers who really know how to deliver. Hailey Strader is a fantastic lead and her character Danielle is a memorable ‘final girl’. I was actually pleasantly surprised at just how good the entire cast is and how they worked together as an ensemble. I won’t name each of them but I will say they were all fantastic. There were also a couple of genre vets who dropped in for the fun. It was a blast to see Helene Udy (MY BLOODY VALENTINE) and Brinke Stevens (SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE) share the screen with the new blood. Speaking of blood, there’s quite the body count and plenty of red splashed and sprayed across the screen. STIRRING delivers the thrills, excitement, and bloodshed one would expect from a holiday slasher. I was fully immersed in the essence of the picture and I’m seriously looking forward to seeing anything Escamilla puts on the screen.