⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ancient curses! Decapitation! Time travel! Hillbillies! Rental property! Aliens! If you’re a fan of absurdist horror/comedy, this one’s right up your alley.
Written/Directed by Casper Kelly
If you haven’t heard of Yule Log (a.k.a., The Fireplace) yet, don’t feel bad. Adult Swim recently sneaked the debut release of this feature-length gem on the air following the season 6 finale of Rick & Morty. Since the movie begins as one of those holiday-themed, fire-in-the-fireplace videos complete with Christmas carols, a lot of people may have just turned the channel. Had they given it a couple minutes, they would have realized that this ain’t your granddad’s yule log video.
Chris “Casper” Kelly, the mad genius behind the horror/comedy short Too Many Cooks (2014) — which you absolutely need to watch if you haven’t already — is a master of absurd horror. While Too Many Cooks was an 80s TV show intro-reel fever dream, Yule Log shows that he’s become adept at maintaining enough narrative structure to support a 90 minute runtime.
From its holiday party background noise beginning, Yule Log slowly begins to introduce its characters. Centering around Zoe [Andrea Laing; Chainsaw Cheerleaders (2008)] and her boyfriend, Alex [Justin Miles; The Crazies (2010)], we’re shown yet another example of why you should avoid short-term rentals. Though they were looking forward to a quiet getaway, Zoe and Alex find out their cozy cabin in the woods has accidentally been double booked.
A scheduling mistake at a rental property? In a horror movie?! I’m shocked!
Ah, we do love our trending tropes here at The Scariest Things.
Needless to say, after a bit of “let’s straighten this out” things quickly go off the rails. And not just a little. Casper Kelly takes it so far off the rails you can’t even see the rails from where we end up. Unpredictability is the name of the game in absurdist cinema and Yule Log does not disappoint.
Naturally, the version which aired on TV was censored for content. However, you can now catch an uncensored Yule Log on HBO Max and it’s a bit of a gory mess at times. They’ve got some great practical effects to get you wincing at the screen.
And let’s not forget the original song played over the closing credits performed by Puddles Pity Party. What doesn’t this movie have?
Whether you’re in the mood for some crazy, what-could-possibly-happen-next fun or you just want to freak out your holiday party guests when murders start happening during your ambient fireplace background video, Yule Log is your go to film.
Yule Log is currently streaming over at HBO Max.
Review by Robert Zilbauer.