Physical disabilities have been used in genre cinema dating back to the silent era, but usually not in a good way. Traditionally, the ‘bad guy’ or ‘monster’ had some form of seen or unseen disability. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way (unless it’s a Bond film) but this stereotype often still persists. Horror filmmakers have approached the subject in a number of imaginative ways over the last couple of decades, but the angle The Advent Calendar takes is both refreshing and imaginative.
Eva (Eugénie Derouand) is a paraplegic. However, being a wheelchair user doesn’t stop her getting on with her life. The former dancer, who lost the use of her legs in an automobile accident, has a normal unsatisfying office job and is a regular at the swimming baths. She’s resigned to spending her birthday alone until her friend Sophie (Honorine Magnier), who is working in Germany, pays a surprise visit; giving Eva an old wooden advent calendar as a present.
The Advent Calendar is a spiky festive chiller which offers its protagonist an opportunity which is too good to refuse. It’s the moral conflict at the heart of writer/director Patrick Ridremont’s film that makes it so persuasive. That and some beautiful cinematography and a story which is dark and inventive throughout. Derouand is great at its heart and we’re treated to one of the most imaginative death scenes you’ll ever have the joy of weeing. Careful what you wish for in The Advent Calendar.
The Advent Calendar is available to watch now on Shudder now.