A frustrated, unpublished novelist who writes vampire romances finds what may be either the chance of a lifetime or a fast ticket to doom in writer/director Sean Nichols Lynch’s Christmas-set horror comedy Red Snow. Taking its horror as seriously as its dark and sometimes daffy humor is funny, the film strikes a fine balance of the two elements and delivers a fun, fast-paced viewing experience.
Dennice Cisneros stars as Olivia Romo, a twentysomething writer who holes up in the Lake Tahoe house that she recently inherited after her mother’s passing. When a bat flies against her home and appears to be seriously injured, she tries to nurse it back to health in her garage. The bat turns out to be an actual vampire named Luke (Nico Bellamy), who is being sought after by vampire hunter Julius King (Vernon Wells of Death House , Await the Dawn , and more than 200 other appearances). Olivia hides Luke and assists him in recovering from a wound that King inflicted on him by feeding him animal blood in exchange for notes about how to improve her novel, which has been roundly rejected by several publishing houses. King isn’t just after Luke, though, as the vampire has other undead friends he hangs out with, including possible flame Jackie (Laura Kennon), who has a decidedly evil streak to her.
Cisneros gives a wonderful performance, investing Olivia with a quirky personality, and balancing her insecurities in adulting with inner strength. She carries the bulk of the film on her shoulders and does a terrific job. Bellamy is impressive as a low-key, dry-witted vampire, and the two actors have fine chemistry together, as do their characters. The supporting cast is solid, with Wells diving into his role with relish.
Lynch directs with verve, with an equally deft hand for the fright-fare set pieces and for comedy, along with some well-crafted poignant scenes. Red Snow is a lot of fun, and comes highly recommended.
Red Snow screens as part of Panic Fest, which takes place from April 8–18, 2021. For tickets or more information about this hybrid edition of the festival, visit panicfilmfest.com. #panicfest2021
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