CAROL’S CHRISTMAS (2021) – Balladeer’s Blog’s Twelfth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with this independent flick filmed in Las Vegas for $500,000.00 Special thank you to reader Lee Anne, who in the past recommended 2nd Chance For Christmas, a fun Christmas Carol variation. At the other extreme, Lee Anne wryly recommended Carol’s Christmas, a ridiculous venture that sucks so badly it’s not even So Bad It’s Good.
This was written and directed by David S Womack, who apparently felt he could be “deep” in treating us to A Very Rian Johnson Christmas by having our main character Carol Scrooge get shot to death at the end by Fred, who is her stalker in this film, not Scrooge’s nephew.
Oh, did I subvert expectations by not adding a spoiler warning like I usually do? Well then, I must be a creative genius by the standards of Carol’s Christmas. After all, simply doing something unexpected is brilliant, right? Something you WILL expect is that Amy Pascal’s name shows up in the closing credits.
Regular readers know I’m open to all kinds of dark interpretations of A Christmas Carol, but unlike efforts like the year 2000 Brazilian film in which Scrooge is a drug dealer, Carol’s Christmas is not a flawed but artful dive into a holiday story which gets distorted by grim realities.
No, the overwhelming majority of the movie plays out as a modern day Las Vegas version of the familiar tale, right up through Scrooge’s morning after conversion scene. Carol Scrooge never gets to make things right, however, because as soon as she sets foot outside her door Christmas morning, Fred is waiting and shoots her to death at close range for always rejecting his requests for a date.
It’s the sort of childish twist you could overlook from a teenage filmmaker who thinks they’re being artistic by doing this. Actually, it’s as pointless as producing a modern day adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but instead of the tragic couple killing themselves at the end they whip out weapons and kill off the supporting cast.
It’s no accomplishment to throw in a pointless twist at the very end in hopes that viewers will praise the result. There are gimmick videos online which punk their audience but those videos don’t take an hour to do it.
An hour? Well, actually, even THAT’S a ripoff, because the opening credits alone take over 6 minutes and the ending credits play over two full songs and go on for roughly 8 minutes, so there’s only about 46 minutes of actual movie. Yes, I know – the CLOSING credits are long and drawn-out so that if you view the remaining runtime it looks like there is time left for a conventional ending to the story to play out, again like on those trick videos online. The opening credits, however, have no such excuse.
Let’s take this Carol beat by beat.
SCROOGE (Sahara Prade) – Sahara does a very nice job as the main character, a businesswoman who runs a lending house in contemporary Las Vegas. Carol Scrooge is the usual tight-fisted hand at the grindstone who hates Christmas as much as she loves making money. Her performance belongs in a better movie, not a “Gotcha!” prank.
FRED (Collin Hays) – Fred catches Carol at the end of her morning jog, and from the “Richard Speck Meets Crispin Glover” vibe the guy gives off I was contemplating writing a line for this review joking that he seems like a creepy stalker who’s prone to violence. Silly me! That IS his character. Scrooge turns down Fred’s invitation to a dinner date, apparently for the umpteenth time, but with Dickens’ dialogue wrapped around it since this time was specifically for a CHRISTMAS dinner date.
CRATCHIT (Lauren Cakes) – Scrooge’s long-suffering assistant, who kind-heartedly digs into her own pocket to give to charity when her boss refuses to. She gets to do the “whole day tomorrow” bit of business with Carol. No Tiny Tim in this production, which is just as well.
CHARITY COLLECTOR (Lindsey Cruz) – This actress is also just fine, helped by the fact that much of the dialogue at this point is still coming from the Christmas Carol novel.
SARAH JOHNSON (Di.Va) – Sarah is unique to this version of the Carol. She owes a lot of money to Scrooge, who calls on her at home and browbeats her over how far behind in payments she is. Frankly, Scrooge threatens actions which are not allowed by creditors AT ALL. Unless Scrooge operates illegally, and we’ve been given no reason to believe that.
MARLEY’S GHOST – I don’t know if this actress wanted her name taken off the credits or what, but not even IMDb shows her name. We first meet this “Jay Marley” in the opening, when her obsession with texting back and forth with Carol Scrooge about business-related matters while driving causes her to die in a car accident. Seven years later she comes back as a ghost to give the usual warning to Scrooge.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST (Brenda Daly) – Brenda turns in a pleasant enough performance as this ghostly visitor. The film is still attempting to contain nuggets of the original Dickens dialogue at this point.
SCROOGE’S LOST LOVE (Victor Townsend) – Instead of Belle, this lost love is named Ben. The vision from Christmas Past shows him dumping Scrooge when her obsession with chasing money causes her to be incredibly late for yet another one of their dates.
NOTE: A very strange aspect of this segment is the way Ben spends an enormous amount of time on his cell phone with the man who first set him up with Carol Scrooge in the first place. And I mean an enormous amount of time. Ben is on the phone with this clown far longer than he spends actually exchanging dialogue with Scrooge.
Possibilities? The guy who played matchmaker – whom we viewers spend a LOT of time with as he rambles on and on about how Ben needs to decide if he wants to move on from Carol – might be writer-director David S Womack in a meaty cameo. Or maybe Carol’s Christmas was short of the necessary runtime to be entered in assorted indy film festivals and the Matchmaker’s repetitious, pointless gibberish was needed to stretch the length.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT (Trap Gambino) – At first I thought this actor was that bumbling employee on the television show Pawn Stars, but it’s not. Anyway, Trap delivers what may be the worst performance in the movie and is barely high school play level. This ghost shows Scrooge how she overworks Cratchit so harshly that Cratchit will wash down sleeping pills with whiskey to kill herself on Christmas night because she can no longer deal with the stress.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME – No actor is credited for the special effects rendition of this shadowy figure from the future. It’s called the Ghost of Christmas Future instead of Yet to Come, but that’s a mistake many productions make and doesn’t cause any harm. Scrooge is taken straight to her own grave, eliminating most of the emotion of this segment.
CHRISTMAS MORNING – We viewers had our suspicions raised again about Fred throughout the film as we got glimpses of him showing up at Scrooge’s house in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve with an offering of flowers. Anyway, as I noted above, Carol is startled to see Fred, who then blows her away and runs off.
Yawn! Immature edgelords might think that’s impressive but hardcore film fans won’t. Carol’s Christmas might just as well have ended with Scrooge getting wiped out by a passing bus as she walked to her car. Or maybe getting roasted alive by a dragon-riding Daeneris Targaryen.
There’s nothing worth watching in this colossal waste of time.
FOR MORE VERSIONS OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/a-christmas-carol-2/