Following Await Further Instructions and The Toy Box, here’s another British horrors-of-a-Christmas-get-together picture – which starts off stronger than it finishes, but has a lot of good things on the menu.
In a rural area, we meet Jack (Neal Ward), a young bloke who’s wearing a silly hat to cover a botched dye-job, and Lucy (Samantha Lockley), his nice primary school teacher wife – they have a few minutes banter to establish that they’d fit into a cheery sit-com Christmas special with jokes about hideous pullovers and Christmas crackers, but are then invaded by glowing lights (alien or demonic?) and turn into quiet, creepy presences who still go through with the plan to join a neighbouring family for the special meal … with Dad (Frank Jakeman) at the head of the table, older siblings (Lee Hunter, Nadia Lamin) bickering, a lad (Buddy Skelton) eager for grub, and Mum (Jennifer K. Preston) prepared to make a special announcement. The hosts are so welcoming that they don’t quite notice the change in Jack and Lucy, who have become hosts of another kind, until an act of startling violence changes things, and the film turns into a sort of home invasion horror as whatever is inhabiting Jack and Lucy experiments with the possibilities of evil as if trying to find out something about human nature.
When it devolves into a runaround in the house, as the possessees take their time picking on everyone in turn and the victims don’t exactly distinguish themselves in the resourcefulness department, its initial grip loosens a bit, but it remains nicely acted and staged, and makes good use of drably British Christmassy settings. Written and directed by Adam Leader and Richard Oakes.