HANUKKAH (2019) Reviews and overview

 

‘Jason can have them on Friday… Obediah will be observing the Sabbath.’

Hanukkah is a 2019 American slasher horror film written, co-produced and directed by Eben McGarr (House of the Wolf Man; Sick Girl). The My Way Pictures production stars Sid Haig (Spider Baby, House of 1,000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects), Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, Contracted, Halloween II, Hatchet III), P.J. Soles (Halloween, Carrie, The Devil’s Rejects) and Nick Principe (Baphomet; Sky Sharks; Virus of the Dead). Dick Miller has a cameo role as a rabbi (his final role).

Plot:

Obediah Lazarus is the son of Judah Lazarus, the original Hanukiller. In 1983, Judah terrorised New York for seven nights and was preparing to sacrifice his eight-year-old son, Obediah, on the eighth night. Judah was convinced it was God’s will, like Abraham and Isaac, to sacrifice his only son to God.

Luckily for Obediah, police tracked Judah down and stopped the sacrifice, but Judah was gunned down in the process. Warped by hatred with no guidance, Obediah Lazarus becomes a religious extremist, intolerant of non-Jews, “bad Jews”, and those he perceives to be enemies of the Jewish faith. He is about to unleash eight nights of horror.

Plot:

A group of Jewish teens are getting ready to party for the holidays, but are in for a Festival of Frights. With the help of a wise Rabbi, they deduce that the murder victims have violated Judaic law and that their only chance at survival is to embrace their faith…

Reviews:

“The tropes of the sub-genre are knowingly replicated – subjective camerawork, Peeping Toms, lots of unerotic nudity – but there’s a mean-spiritedness behind the multiple scenes of naked, bloodied, mortally wounded women that keeps any of it from being any fun whatsoever. Dick Miller, also at the end of his life, shows up at the very end in a wastefully sincere performance and Caroline Williams is always good – but Hanukah wears out its welcome very quickly.” Horror Screams Video Vault

” …non-Hebrew speaking horror fans unaware of Jewish traditions can and should still enjoy this gruesome holiday feature. Expanding representation in horror will not only bring more fans to the genre but will still satisfy existing fans with a great film. Gore, cinematography, nods to 80s films, and some of the great names of horror movies, all combine to make this film a delightful slasher.” Killer Horror Critic

“Unfortunately, despite all the talent assembled, Hanukkah isn’t a particularly good film. The first hour drags with no scares and mostly off-screen kills […] I was hoping Hanukkah would use Jewish traditions and scripture the way many horror films have used the Bible. It would have made a nice change of pace and helped set the film apart. Instead, it’s all pretty much ignored and we get a generic story about obnoxious @ssholes dying.” Voices from the Balcony

Release:

Hanukkah was released theatrically in limited locations on December 13th 2019, followed by a 100 copies only VHS release on December 20th and a VOD, DVD and Blu-ray release on February 11th, 2020.

Cast and characters:

Charles Fleischer … Amon Feist
Sid Haig … Judah Lazarus
Caroline Williams … Ana Lazarus
P.J. Soles … Mrs. Horowitz
Sadie Katz … Rachel
Victoria De Mare … Amanda
Robert Felsted Jr. … Adam
Toliver Harris … David
Louise Rosealma … Judy
Joe Knetter … Obediah Lazarus
Wali Habib … Yuri
Adam Franek … Ivan
Caleb Thomas … Ian
Kyle Pacek … Dancing Rabbi
Dick Miller … Rabbi Walter Paisley

Technical details:

107 minutes

Trailer: