Adult Swim Yule Log
A couple vacationing at a rural rustic cabin becomes embroiled in murder and mayhem as multiple killers begin attacking.
Spoiler Level: Mild-Moderate
The movie starts with a close-up view of the fireplace, as if it is one of those “Yule Log” videos that you play on television for holiday ambience when you don’t have a real fireplace. Eventually, we hear voices and without the view changing, a brutal killing is heard mainly in the background, with only an occasional glimpse of what is happening. The murderers are the typical “inbred hillbillies”, with the sadistic, but loving Mother (Tordy Clark) and the mentally challenged oaf, Pleatherface (Brendan Patrick Connor), but before they have a chance to escape, the couple renting the place return and the camera view is expanded to reveal a rustic cabin. The view is still from the stationary camera which belongs to Alex (Justin Miles) who is literally making a “Yule Log” video to sell. With him is his girlfriend, Zoe (Andrea Laing). Through exposition we discover that the cabin is very old and pre-dates back to the civil war. Just as Alex and Zoe are trying to work through some issues, the Sheriff and his Deputy arrive and inform them that a body was found yesterday, and they were just canvassing the area. The sheriff warns them that the log they are burning is from a sacred native American tree which was also used for lynching. The tree is reputed to be possessed by demons. After the sheriff leaves, the couple are once again interrupted, this time by a group of four friends who somehow double booked the cabin. As the night progresses insanity ensues and the death toll climbs.
When I say, “insanity ensues”, I mean it! The plot of this movie goes insane, purposely so absurd that it becomes a parody of the horror movie genre and most of the sub-genres. There isn’t just one set of killers, but multiple nefarious entities, not all of them Earth bound, woven into a single story. This very absurdity could have turned the movie into a straight up comedy, but somehow it retains its edge. This is probably due to the actors never performing for laughs and keeping the tension and horror alive. Justin Miles is really good and a very likeable character, his Alex is fun loving and optimistic and adores Zoe, and at first we aren’t even sure why. Andrea Laing’s Zoe is a troubled soul who has some issues, but she is self-aware of her flaws and worries what that could do to Alex. This aspect of her character makes her more relatable, and a more likeable heroine and we begin to learn why Alex loves her.
The production value is surprisingly high. I was expecting a much cheaper-looking film with goofy special effects, and even as unbelievable as the story becomes, the believability of what we are seeing doesn’t falter. The editing is also something unique, with snippets of the rooms’ past occupants revealed in very refreshing and inventive ways and as the movie progresses, we see how these scenes add to the story’s rich historical past layering in a kind of texture to the movie. Not all these scenes are fully explained but left to the audience to draw their own conclusion on how they influenced the current story. On paper, I can imagine that most people would think it would be a muddled disaster with so much going on, but somehow it all pulls together and works, although the ending could have used some work!
This film is also known as the Fireplace, and does not necessarily take place at Christmas, but does involve the filming of the fireplace to be sold as a "Yule Log" video.
Adult Swim Yule Log: An Absurd Holiday Horror
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 9/109/10
- Production - 9/109/10
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