I've been a movie enthusiast my whole life and been writing movie reviews for over 156 years.
As of this writing it’s early December and my nephew Mortimer still hasn’t returned from trick or treating. He might have texted a few times but I was busy doing something else. I’m stating it’s early December to make it perfectly okay to be reviewing a movie called The Advent Calendar since it’s so close to Christmas.
I hope Bongee Bear eats you.
The log is burning, the snow is snowing, the eggnog is getting better tasting just leaving it on the counter like that, and kitties Persephone and Black Phillip are marking off underage transgressors for a karmic rebound. Typical holiday season…
But it won’t be as typical for our heroine Eva in this review of The Advent Calendar.
If you have an advent calendar with you, you may take out your chocolate or chewing gum or Roku or whatever you people do with advent calendars.
Because for Eva, this will be a season to dismember…
The Advent Calendar opens with our heroine Eva (Eugenie Derouand) swimming in a pool. She’s getting ogled by a dude in a swim cap named Antione who’s telling her how beautiful she is and it’s so rare to see pretty girls at the swimming pool and Antione’s lame swimming pool game already puts him in a date r*pist pigeonhole.
Eva smirks and asks Antione to not wear his trunks two sizes too small and to get her chair. Her wheelchair.
Antione says yes (“Oui”) and gets Eva’s wheelchair. He also stops trying to hit on her because now he feels sorry for her because Antione is a flaccid douche-bro with a tiny member.
Eva’s seen it all before. She’s used to it but it still hurts sometimes. Her feelings. Not her legs because she lost the feeling in them about 3 years ago.
3 years ago Eva was an aspiring dancer. Her life was ahead of her. She was doing well in school. She was about to retire from the force after 30 years of active duty. She canceled all her life insurance because it was just wasted money. She was on track to become the best French Dancer to ever live since Paul Rudd.
Eva and her best friend Sophie (Honorine Magnier) are about to celebrate a milestone. Sophie wants to commemorate the occasion with a selfie. Then a truck hits the both of them and Eva is paralyzed.
Ever since then Eva hasn’t been dancing as much since she lost the use of her legs. She now works at a shady insurance company where her boss hired her out of pity.
After work Sophie comes over to Eva’s apartment. Sophie’s felt super bad about Eva being a paraplegic because of a stupid selfie. But Sophie’s been in Germany for work and she’s brought Eva an old fashioned advent calendar.
Eva’s birthday is December 3rd. So she eats the first two chocolates to the corresponding dates. Yum.
But there’s a warning. In German. Which is as f*cking cheery sounding as you might guess.
Eva must follow all the instructions the advent calendar gives until the final day of the calendar (the 24th).
She cannot throw away the calendar…or else.
She must open the door to each day and eat the corresponding chocolate…or else.
If she completes the tasks, then on the final day everything will be wonderful. But if not…
Eva doesn’t take this too seriously because this is the first 30 minutes of a horror movie. She opens the door. She eats the chocolate.
Until strange things start happening…
Eva’s boss gets eaten right after she wishes him ill will for Christmas.
Eva finds a guy that likes her for her right after she thinks about having a boyfriend that doesn’t care that she’s in a wheelchair.
Eva’s catatonic father has begun speaking because she wished for it.
Eva’s online trading app starts raking in the change.
All this occurs as she’s loyally eating the chocolate. But there’s a price to be paid, and so far Eva’s been willing to pay it.
But two weeks before Christmas, the advent calendar suggests Eva might be able to walk again. If only she’s willing to sacrifice.
So of course everything will work out just perfectly and only some people will die. Before Christmas comes the advent calendar will become the DEAD-vent calendar.
What Works With The Advent Calendar
- The first act keeps you off balance because you simply do not know where the story will go. You can guess, but more often than not you’ll be wrong. You wish writer/director Patrick Ridremont were able to keep this much tension throughout the rest of the movie.
- Eugenie Derouand as Eva carries the film as you never get the feeling she’s defined by her disability even though she’s had an abundance of chances to feel sorry for herself. You don’t even like Eva for a portion of the movie as she navigates her way through the advent calendar and its deadly chocolates. There are times when she’s almost as evil as whatever’s controlling the calendar. Derouand never makes Eva less than human and your root for her even as you disagree with her choices.
- An ending comes out of left field and (for the most part) works. By this time in the movie you’ve accepted the movie will be just okay but nothing to post on Letterboxd to, but the ending makes this a definite watch.
What Doesn’t Work With The Advent Calendar
- A repetitive middle two acts that are never boring but never reach the suspense of the first 30 minutes. You know where everything might be heading even if the movie has acceptable moments of suspense you realize you’re never really scared from minute 31 until the end. That final piece of chocolate is worth a viewing.
If you like the French and chocolate and wheelchairs and people getting eaten by household pets and the Christmas season and deadly selfies then you will definitely like The Advent Calendar. You won’t love it, but you should see it anyway. Just don’t take a selfie while watching it.