‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Moves from May 2022 to March 2023 [Video]

by Susan Ryant

When it comes to horror comedies, one must find the humor in the macabre. How do you take a monster that is meant to elicit fear and present it as funny? In the case of Red Snow , written and directed by Sean Nichols Lynch, you combine charismatic actors with playful homage. For at the heart of Red Snow’s laughs and intense moments, the film is a great love letter to vampire fandom that knows how to perfectly poke fun at and pay homage to the subgenre.

Olivia (Dennice Cisneros) is a struggling novelist who lives on her own. When she isn’t having a spat on the phone with her sister, Olivia likes to sip wine and enjoy her advent calendar. And oh yeah, she loves vampires. She is currently working on a vampire story, and from the big book of vampire short stories she reads, to the set of plastic fangs on her Christmas tree, to her Nosferatu t-shirt – she is a true fan. Depictions of vampire-obsessed fans have been common in media since that of Twilight’s pop culture dominance; but whereas many of those representations tend to be demeaning, Red Snow offers a positive angle. Olivia isn’t defined by her love for vampires – she isn’t one note; her appreciation of the monster archetype speaks to her passion for storytelling and creative writing.

Olivia’s life takes an interesting turn when one day a bat flies into her home; checking on said bat, she sees that it’s wounded and takes it inside to heal. When she hears a loud noise later where the bat is resting, she checks on it, only to discover the bat is now a grown naked man with fangs. The vampire introduces himself as Luke (Nico Bellamy) and says he is in a weakened state due to being attacked. Once he is rested though and had the chance to drink some blood – pigs blood that is, acquired by Olivia – Luke finds himself confronted by her. She is enamored by his existence and wants to ask a hundred questions. As the two spend time with each other though, they’ll have to contend with a vampire hunter searching for Luke, as well as a couple of violent vampires lingering about Olivia’s home.

The relationship between Olivia and Luke is very much the core of the film; the chemistry between her intrigue and his charm allows for multiple laugh out loud moments. The self-aware, tongue-in-cheek presentation is perfect; it never feels like the characters are trying to wink at you. Rather, the comedy is both surreal and natural. An example is Olivia’s fascination for Luke: Though it’s a tad odd how thrilled she is to meet him – to the point she is comfortable asking him questions almost right away – she still takes safety precautions. Through the writing and Cisneros’ delivery, there is a surreal element to Olivia’s interactions, but they are also believable. The characters aren’t shy about name dropping several big vampire properties and authors known for writing such stories; this could come off as corny in a lot of cases, but how they are used in Red Snow makes for fun comedic moments.

While much of the film plays out like a comedy with drops of horror playfulness, there does come a dramatic spin later that provides a great twist. This shift not only brings a nice punch to the narrative – playing into the already solid pacing – it also provides a greater depth to Olivia’s story. And while Olivia and Luke may have most of the spotlight on them, the vampire hunter Julius King (Vernon Wells) and the vampires Jackie (Laura Kennon) and Brock (Alan Silva) all bring a unique charm to the film.

Too much self-awareness and trying to hammer jokes in a forceful manner can kill the vibe of a comedy; when it comes to horror comedies, it at worst can make the experience feel vapid. For Red Snow though, everything is a delight. It is awesome to see how the film displays such admiration for the vampire subgenre; never being mean in its joking, the writing goes far enough to playfully poke fun at tropes, but also pay homage to the monster mythos and pop culture. With the looming self-awareness that Red Snow embraces, it’s great to see all the actors in for the ride. Everyone brings a great performance, and the film’s effective pacing in comedy and action make Red Snow a jolly (and bloody) holiday horror comedy.

Red Snow is now available on all VOD outlets.