‘Red Letter Day’: A Brief And Brutal Horror Comedy
In celebration of Dread’s streaming partnership with VA Media, we are shining the spotlight on a handful of releases from our arsenal that are available to stream via VA’s Horror Central Channel. One of the titles currently featured on the platform is the brutal horror comedy Red Letter Day.
Red Letter Day serves up fun characters, solid gore effects, and some astute social commentary. Moreover, at roughly 75 minutes, the flick is a breezy watch that caters to waning attention spans.
Red Letter Day follows Canadian single mother Melanie Edwards (Dawn Van de Schoot) and her teenage children, Tim (Kaeleb Zain Gartner) and Madison (Hailey Foss), as they navigate the most harrowing day of their lives. The family of three awakens to learn that an Anonymous-esque collective called ‘Unknown’ is pairing people with a nearby human target that they must kill or be killed by. The entire process is orchestrated by examining people’s online footprint with the intent of bringing together two individuals of differing perspectives to battle to the bloody death.
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The film’s premise provides some interesting commentary on social media and the tendency it has to create division and disharmony when its primary purpose is to bring people together. And that opens up a larger conversation on the Internet in general. It’s this life-changing innovation that gives us an encyclopedia of knowledge at our fingertips, yet most users primarily leverage the web to watch cat videos and start arguments with strangers.
Just like in real life, Red Letter Day sees people using social media and the Internet to tear others apart, rather than bring them together. Also contained within is an in-depth look at the way that social media has been used to manufacture paranoia and galvanize people for less-than-worthy causes. Much like the way the inaugural Red Letter Day sends people into a violent tailspin and turns friends against friends and neighbors against neighbors. That tendency has long puzzled me and I think writer/director Cameron Macgowan has some interesting perspective on that very subject.
Additionally, the flick features pretty brutal gore effects. There are a couple of grotesque scenes involving a meat tenderizer to the head. The aftermath of one of them is brutal enough that I was almost tempted to avert my gaze. Almost.
Also working in the film’s favor is the central trio. The performances are rough around the edges at times but the Edwards clan still comes across as easy enough to invest in. Van de Schoot is effective in her turn as the matriarch and gives off fierce mother-bear energy as she must navigate unimaginable chaos to protect her life and the lives of her children. Foss and Gartner are also fairly enjoyable as Madison and Tim. Both have reasonably effective comedic timing and succeed in delivering a couple of solid one-liners. One memorable exchange sees Tim imagining what Hailey’s wedding to her significantly older metal-head boyfriend might look like. I won’t spoil the particulars for anyone that hasn’t seen the film. But it certainly had me chuckling.
I will say that the first act takes a bit of time to get moving but things quickly heat up as the Red Letter Day “festivities” start to get underway. Accordingly, from the tail end of the first act through the balls-to-the-wall finale, the film delivers the action and the arterial spray.
All in, Red Letter Day is an enjoyable horror comedy with goopy effects work and some interesting commentary on our society’s relationship with social media.
If you’re curious to check the flick out for yourself, you can stream Red Letter Day for free (with ads) on FreeVee, Plex, and Tubi. And the film is also available via VA Media’s Horror Central Channel as of the publication of this post.