The Advent Calendar is a 2021 horror film about a young woman that is given the titular antique and discovers not all surprises are good.
Written and directed by Patrick Ridremont (Dead Man Talking). Produced by Alain Benguigui, Virginie Ogouz, Jean-Yves Roubin and Cassandre Warnauts.
The Belgian-French Sombrero Films production stars Eugénie Derouand, Honorine Magnier, Clément Olivieri, Janis Abrikh, Cyril Garnier and Vladimir Perrin.
Eva (Eugénie Derouand), an ex-dancer, is now using a wheelchair, unable to walk. When her friend Sophie (Honorine Magnier) gives her an old wooden antique advent calendar before Christmas, she realises each window contains a surprise that triggers repercussions in real life.
Some of the surprises are good, but most of them are bad, really bad. Now Eva will have to choose between getting rid of the calendar or walking again – even if it causes death and destruction to everyone she holds dear around her…
“The Advent Calendar is paced perfectly. Everything takes place over a few weeks and while some days move quicker than others, it never seems like anything is being glossed over […] There are some fantastic scares and things never get boring. Even when things slow down to develop the characters – always a risk in scary movies – it never impacts the story.” AIPT
“I’m used to modern films not looking like anyone cares about color, lighting and composition. This not only looks great, it plays great and minor issues with the close, it just plain works. The art direction of the advent calendar is quite good as well.” B&S About Movies
“Eugenie Derouand is entrancing as Eva. All of the perfectly-cast supporting players are equally excellent. I could award accolades all around on both sides of the camera […] Not only is it one of the best thrillers of the year, The Advent Calendar might have a prime place on the list of perennial holiday horror hits to revisit every December too.” Culture Crypt
“For as dense as its mythopoeia is, it’s always engaging. Derouand is sensationally good, and some of the more subversive elements propel it forward– one particular scene involving both a dog and a Range Rover is a bonafide hoot. There’s a genuine appreciation for the characters, too. While stretches feel too slight– too beholden to genre workings that came before– The Advent Calendar remains worth opening.” Dread Central
” …The Advent Calendar is an enjoyably nasty and twisted little horror movie, and it’s one that is happy to drag characters into a realm of absolute dark fantasy […] There’s a nice visual style throughout […] There’s fun to be had while watching bad characters get their comeuppance […] Derouand is a good lead, and it’s easy to understand her character being tempted by the changes made by the calendar.” For It Is Man’s Number
“This story really is all about Eva, so Eugénie Derouand needs to deliver a believable character portrait, which she absolutely succeeds at. Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this Christmas horror movie […] It definitely packs a punch and keeps you guessing.” Heaven of Horror
“The Advent Calendar isn’t very scary, though it has its moments of uneasiness. The film’s pace, effects, and fantastic camera work make it an exceptionally well-told take on the W.W. Jacobs story ‘The Monkey’s Paw’, which will turn one hundred and twenty next year. In other words, The Advent Calendar isn’t anything we haven’t seen before…” Horror Obsessive
“Even when Advent Calendar doesn’t make much sense, its unhinged manic energy keeps viewers hooked. It is crazy, melodramatic, and even maybe a little exploitative, but it is still entertaining. Recommended for Sunday school classes…” J. B. Spins
“This is a horror/thriller that takes its time establishing the stakes and the status quo so that when the nastiness kicks in, it hits you that much harder […] Eva’s character is sketched with bold colors, and forced to make several impossible choices. Her final decision as she nears the end of the calendar was surprising and original.” Josh at the Movies
“Whilst the narrative was predictable the journey was reasonably enjoyable. There are some bloody kills, some satisfying character arcs and Deronaud’s performance as Eva is impressive. She is quietly charismatic and chaotic in equal measure, providing a convincing descent into madness.” Jumpcut Online
“Patrick Ridremont follows such standardised genre offerings as Wish Upon and the Ouija films – but has a much more intricate, ornate and satisfying plot (also, a splendid and enviable central prop) […] Derouand is terrific in the central role, and Ridremont tells the tale with an unfussy charm and elegance that makes this an unusual Christmas horror film…” The Kim Newman Web Site
“The ending itself might be a little too open-ended for some but I really liked it. As I did with the strange and surrealism of the movie in general. You’re not quite sure if what you’re seeing is real-life at times and it’s never really explained but that is fine. It’s not perfect but I’ll be happy watching The Advent Calendar once a year in December. It’s original and weird enough for many horror fans to enjoy during the holiday.” Nerdly
“There’s a level of nihilism to the film itself that may not endear itself to some viewers […] While perhaps not overtly scary, the horror itself dwells in the psychological realm. There are creative decisions made in the execution of certain scenes that can sometimes read as cheap or unnecessary, but sometimes the creative workarounds work. Overall, definitely a recommend.” Nightmarish Conjurings
” …this is a stylish, increasingly dreamy and disorienting portrait of a woman in crisis, caught between hopes and fears about a future cruelly severed from the past – until it seems that the best, perhaps the only, way for her to move on is to become like her demented father (Jean-François Garreaud), rooted forever to a chair and simply forgetting what she once cherished.” Projected Figures
“Writer/director Patrick Ridremont has crafted a stunning-looking film that is dripping in atmosphere. The ornate advent calendar is a great plot device that is both anxiety-producing and beautiful. There are people who Eva meets that deserve everything they get.” Starburst
“Derouand portrays Eva’s bitterness and longing so clearly that the film never has to bow to montage or flashback. And when the time comes to get spooky, The Advent Calendar delivers […] The FX are not as impressive as the performances, unfortunately, but the creature itself is creepy as hell.” UK Film Review
“The film’s last half-hour features both The Advent Calendar’s nastiest death and its most heartbreaking moment […] I can see The Advent Calendar becoming part of many horror fans’ yearly viewing habits…” Voices from the Balcony
The film had its world premiere at Frightfest in London in August 2021.
The Advent Calendar will be available for streaming on Shudder on December 9, 2021.
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1