RED LETTER DAY is a new thriller that comes across as a horror movie with dark comedy. And I absolutely adore this Canadian low-budget gem! This is the result of a filmmaker who knows exactly what to keep and what to cut. Read more in our full Red Letter Day review here!
Red Letter Day is a new thriller with horror and deliciously dark comedy elements. It’s impossible not to compare it to The Purge but to me, this plot works better than the horror franchise. It simply feels more realistic and believable while also being funny and very bloody!
The runtime is just 76 minutes (that’s 1 hour and 16 minutes) and it’s simply perfect. It’s low-budget but you really won’t notice this because the production quality is pretty damn awesome.
And, even more important, the characters are just so badass. Especially Dawn Van de Schoot as divorced single mom, Melanie Edwards. Continue reading our Red Letter Day review below for more gushing about this movie!
The Purge made personal
The concept of Red Letter Day feels a bit like the Purge franchise concept in the sense that “normal” people suddenly turn into homicidal maniacs. Of course, it’s not that you’re actually allowed to kill anyone. People simply receives a letter stating that they’ve been “matched” with someone and they should kill that person.
Not due to much other than personal ideological differences made obvious on social media. However, the key thing is the fact that the person in your red letter will also have received a letter featuring you as the victim. This creates a “kill or be killed” scenario. Well, of course, you could also attempt to talk to the person in your letter.
But, human nature isn’t always to try communication which is exactly what the people behind the red letters are counting on. They don’t actually do anything except send out the letters which proves to be more than enough. Especially since most people probably loathe the person in their letter already.
I know, I know, this might sound all kinds of stupid (then again, so does The Purge at first). However, what really makes Red Letter Day work is the cast and the really fleshed-out characters!
Because yes, people do react in very different ways which is what makes this so interesting.
Dawn Van de Schoot is my final girl
Dawn Van de Schoot is the lead character in Red Letter Day and she makes everything work. First of all, she is very natural and offers an extremely realistic portrayal of a divorced single mom with two teen kids. The interaction between mom and her two teenagers just works. This means you should be buying into the premise from the very beginning.
Once the red letters come into play (which does happen very quickly), we get to see what these people are really made of. When it comes to Melanie (Dawn Van de Schoot), she is made of final girl material. She reacts in the way you wish you would react yourself.
First, she tries to be smart and reason with people around her. When that doesn’t work, she is not someone who is slow to react. I did not see a character like this coming and it absolutely made the movie for me. Of course, Dawn Van de Schoot isn’t working alone and everyone around her works extremely well also.
Her kids, Madison and Timothy, are played by Hailey Foss and Kaeleb Zain Gartner respectively. Also, the couple down the street delivers some brilliant performances that should make you feel 100% onboard. These two characters are played by Arielle Rombough (Netflix series Black Summer) and Michael Tan. Especially the latter has some quite memorable scenes – to put it mildly!
Please do not miss out on Red Letter Day
It’s probably a good thing that Red Letter Day is out just after Halloween. Otherwise, this could have been the Halloween prank of the season (sending these red letters). Then again, I’m sure the Netflix series Prank Encounters is already providing plenty of inspiration for pranks.
The writer and director of Red Letter Day is Cameron Macgowan and this is his feature film debut. Well, kudos and congratulations are in order for Cameron Macgowan. Only “problem” now is the fact that I am expecting damn big things for Macgowan in the future.
Please, don’t keep us waiting too long, Cameron Macgowan. You can’t give us this low-budget gem and not have something new lined up. I will certainly be looking forward to his next movie. And if Dawn Van de Schoot is cast in the lead once again, I certainly would not complain.
In the meantime, make sure you check out Red Letter Day which is full of surprises and has the perfect runtime for this plot!
Red Letter Day opens in select theaters and on VOD November 1, followed by a Blu-ray release on November 5, 2019.
Director: Cameron Macgowan
Writer: Cameron Macgowan
Stars: Dawn Van de Schoot, Hailey Foss, Roger LeBlanc, Tiffany Helm, Kaeleb Zain Gartner, Peter Strand Rumpel.
While adjusting to a new life in a quiet suburban community, a recently divorced mother (Dawn Van de Schoot), and her two teens receive mysterious red letters instructing them each to kill or be killed. As the bloodshed begins, they find themselves in a race against time to protect the ones they love from the people they thought they knew.