Shudder’s The Advent Calendar a deliciously dark gift that keeps on giving

Eugénie Derouand as Eva - The Advent Calendar - Photo Credit: JEAN-CLAUDE LOTHER/Shudder
Eugénie Derouand as Eva - The Advent Calendar - Photo Credit: JEAN-CLAUDE LOTHER/Shudder /

Shudder recently added the holiday horror film The Advent Calendar to its streaming service, and it’s a dark, delicious morsel with plenty of fear and very little cheer. It’s a French film, so be aware that subtitles are in your future, but if you are like me, you actually appreciate subtitles more than bad dubbing.

Eva (played by Eugenie Derouand) is a paraplegic who lives alone with her dog, having lost the use of her legs three years prior in a tragic car accident, a cruel twist of fate, since she was a dancer prior to her accident. Her father has late-stage Alzheimer’s and doesn’t seem to remember her, and her stepmother is cruel and dismissive.

It’s not such a wonderful life for Eva, but her mood lightens somewhat with a visit from her carefree friend Sophie. Sophie comes bearing a gift: a large wooden Advent calendar. We’re all familiar with Advent calendars, right? They comprise a series of doors, one for each day in December leading up to Christmas. Behind each door is a treat of some sort, and Eva’s new Advent Calendar is no exception to the treat rule, or so we think at first.

Sophie got the calendar in Germany, and she reads the “rules” to Eva. Each rule ends with “…or I will kill you.” Why Sophie thinks this is a sweet gift for her friend is anyone’s guess! If she eats the first treat, she must eat them all. To keep her on track, the Advent calendar has a handy feature: each night at midnight, an ugly little figure pops out of the top and says, “Midnight is here, open the door.”

The Advent Calendar
Honorine Magnier as Sophie – The Advent Calendar – Photo Credit: JEAN-CLAUDE LOTHER/Shudder /

Eva does open the door and soon discovers that each candy she eats makes something happen. At first, the events are good ones. After eating a candy that was her father’s favorite, she receives a lucid phone call from him, and another treat results in an unexpected sum of cash. A man she has been crushing on begins to return her interest.

Soon, though, the “gifts” get darker, and people around Eva start suffering strange accidents. Initially, these are all people who have wronged Eva somehow, such as the man who sexually assaults her. But, a couple of the candies give Eva a brief flash of what it would be like to have the use of her legs back, and she comes to realize that if she can follow through with the calendar, she will be granted the ability to walk again.

Every gift comes with a price, however, and as others around Eva begin to die, even those she loves, she is left to decide if she can stand to let them suffer for her gain or if she is willing to sacrifice herself to save them.

Did I mention that The Advent Calendar is dark?

The Advent Calendar is a wicked piece of filmmaking, and the ornate calendar itself is a fascinating piece of art. Behind the doors lie not just candy, but sometimes weapons and objects, and we frequently are given glimpses of the evil contained within it, a demonic creature known as Ich.

The story moves along cleverly and quickly, the kills are inventive and fitting, and the acting performances are solid, particularly that of Eugenie Derouand. I plan to add The Advent Calendar to my annual holiday viewing schedule and suggest you do as well, especially if you like your holiday horror on the dark and grim side.

The Advent Calendar can currently only be seen on Shudder. New subscribers can receive a free 7-day trial subscription by visiting the website.

Next. 10 best horror movies on Netflix in December. dark

Are you a fan of dark holiday horror, and did you watch The Advent Calendar? If so, give us your review in the comments section.