A Christmas film? In March?! Yes, I was asked to take a look at this film one day and had it on my list for ages. The time has come to watch Angels in the Snow.
What is it about?
A bickering couple takes their children on a Christmas vacation and gets a lesson in love and respect after giving shelter to a stranded family.
Sounds pretty straightforward, but I believe it is not. (Note from future Afro Pig who has just finished the movie: it is NOT.)
A family is on the way to a cabin for Christmas and it’s not going well. The children bicker and less than a minute in, we call tell what their personalities are: the eldest is an “over it” teenager, the middle is anally retentive, and the youngest is the cute kid. Both parents are the standard “on the verge of divorce” types. Only the little girl is looking forward to the vacation.
They arrive at a majestic log cabin. It’s already completely decorated and even comes with a piano. Kristy Swanson, the mother, isn’t jazzed with it. She was expecting a civil war era cabin, not a Balsam Hill cabin. The youngest daughter, Emily, gleefully asks if they can decorate the tree to which the family responds with a yes and a “shrug.” This leads to fight between Mom and Dad once Mom realizes that Dad didn’t put the ornaments in the car.
Emily, who is probably about 9, defuses the situation. A gold medal in parenting awaits the two adults. At dinner, Emily talks bollocks about snowmen. Unfortunately for the girl, Dad gets an important call and leaves the dinner, despite Mom’s protests.
After Dad finishes his phone call, he commands everyone to shut off their electronics so that they can have a real Christmas together. NO ONE is onboard with this. Alex, the eldest, asks Dad if he’ll put his phone away like the rest of them. Dad says no.
Mom takes Dad into the bedroom to privately argue. Mom accuses Dad of being too preoccupied with work at the expense of his family. Dad accuses Mom of not being punctual and having a sour mood. Mom alludes to a happier time, when Dad didn’t work so much, and she almost begins to cry. Emily overhears everything.
Emily tries to defuse the situation once more, but it doesn’t work as they shoo the child out. The couple continues their argument and Mom basically says, “I’m out.” Emily also overhears this and wishes to the sky that her parents don’t get a divorce. It’s kind of a dark start to this film.
The next morning, the family gets some unexpected visitors who are trapped in the beginnings of a snowstorm. Mom swiftly lets them in, worried that they’re cold. Thankfully, they’re not a band of roving murderers. It’s a family of four who ran their van into a tree while driving to a ski resort.
After physically warming up, the families begin to figuratively warm up. The other family’s kids suggest making ornaments for the Christmas tree. We get an ornament montage that is actually just scenes of teenage kids flirting like a bunch of teenagers would do.
With the tree decorated, the families open one gift per person. It’s a tradition that Emily’s family decided to share with the intruders. They’ve got the moolah so why not spread the cheer?
Later, Robbie (the son of the visiting family) beautifully plays the piano. Jennifer, Emily’s sister, creams herself. She’s hit the jackpot with this guy. She tries to woo him by talking about grammatical rules. A bold move if there ever was one. Alex sasses Jennifer for this lame attempt.
The music session is interrupted by Dad #2 asking if anyone wants to play Monopoly. Against all good common sense, they play.
Dad #1 is still on his phone much to the dismay of Emily and Mom #1. Mom #2 clocks this and takes Mom #1 aside for a heart to heart. Basically, Mom #1 misses being poor because money has ruined her family.
The families gather in the living room to share some fun facts about each other, I guess? We learn that Emily thinks Robbie is “hot.” Everyone laughs. It’s weird.
As the evening progresses, Alex takes the girl upstairs to show her…a picture of a squid on an iPad. I’m not kidding. It’s part of some paper he’s writing for school. The girl changes the conversation to cookies.
Downstairs, Emily, Jennifer, and Robbie play Scrabble. The sexual tension is incredibly high. Honestly, I think this is a Christmas movie about teenagers who want to bang. I’m uncomfortable. Emily douses the fires within by literally listing out all the US presidents. I didn’t think they’d waste five minutes of film on that, but here we are. She tries to tell her dad about this grand accomplishment, but he’s not interested.
The evening CONTINUES because it NEVER ends. The families put up Christmas stockings. It’s all well and good until Emily pulls out a stocking for someone named Bella. Apparently, Bella is Emily’s baby sister who is “in heaven now.” The family shows pictures of the dead child. W.T.F??? Dad excuses himself.
Moving on from that downer of a scene, the families hold a candle and talk about what they’re thankful for. When Dad #1 says that he’s thankful for business, Mom #1 leaves. Mom #1 and #2 have another chat where Mom #1 unloads. I feel really bad for the visiting family, but I guess they’re getting a night in an expensive cabin for free.
The lights go out due to a big snowstorm and the two dads battle the elements in a weirdly filmed scene to check on the generator. It’s dead. So that they don’t freeze to death, the families decide to hold a slumber party near the fireplace. Once everyone is asleep, Mom #1 and Dad #1 have a discussion that ends with Mom #1 saying that she plans on taking the kids once the other family leaves. Dad #1 is not happy.
Dad #1 steps outside to get something from the car. A tree falls on him. Luckily for him, the electricity comes back on which wakes everyone up. The kids start looking for him and soon realize that he might be outside. They rescue him, but he’s pretty unconscious.
The family cries because a tree may have killed their father. It’s short-lived though because Dad #1 wakes up after about 10 minutes. The family gathers to hug him. Dad #1 tells his kids that he’s been pretty crummy and hopes he can change.
It’s FINALLY CHRISTMAS MORNING. Emily flips out and both families go outside to make snow angels. The other family decides that it’s time to go. Dad #1 pulls Dad #2 to the side to beg him to stay. He reveals that Mom #1 is driving directly to divorce town once they go. What’s the plan here Dad #1? Keep a family hostage indefinitely? Dad #2 thinks this is a perfectly fine request and decides to stay.
Dad #1 tries to talk to Mom #1, but she’s unmoved. Until….Dad #1 reveals why he went to the car in the storm: he went to retrieve the only photo he had of him and the dead baby. Dad #1 breaks down because he blames himself for the baby’s death. Jesus, what the hell is happening in this movie?? He also tells Mom #1 that he loves her. They make up.
All the crying has made them hungry, so they gather everyone for dinner. Dad #1 does a do-over of the “I’m thankful for” ritual and says he’s happy for his family.
It’s finally time for that other family to GO. They bid a tearful goodbye and family #2 walks away. This is a weird way to bid adieu to anyone. They don’t even offer them a lift to the nearest town or anything? After about, I don’t know, an hour (?), family #1 comes to their senses and goes after their new friends who are presumably lost in the woods.
After traveling through some bad green screen, they encounter a group of people standing in a circle. Dad #1 asks them what’s going on. The group of people erected a small monument to a beloved family that recently died at the start of the snowstorm.
Dad #1 starts babbling incoherently that they were with the supposedly dead family an hour ago. The main vigil guy says, “That’s not possible. I helped pull the bodies out of the wreckage.” That’s right, we’re dealing with an entire dead family.
Jennifer tries to show that they took pictures with the dead people. But nope, nothing appears. They panic and leave.
The family is utterly perplexed and we may have a Shining situation on our hands until Emily says, “They were angels. I prayed that you wouldn’t get divorced.” God killed a perfectly good family so that Dad #1 and Mom #1 could mend their boring marriage. Sprightly music plays as the family understands this miracle and they proceed to have a jolly Christmas Day in the cabin. Emily’s voice caps off the film with, “This was the best Christmas anyone could ask for.”
What the hell happened?? Why did they put that twist? Why couldn’t they just had done traditional angels rather than KILL A FAMILY?! Also, they didn’t NEED to include a dead baby in the film! That served very little purpose. Kristy Swanson’s character was so mopey. She had nothing better to do in this film other than stare blankly and look like she was constantly on the verge of tears. I honestly can’t think of anything else at the moment because that twist is truly horrific. This is worse than Christmas Shoes.
- Feels weird to watch a Christmas film in March.
- Emily says the ages of the family members. Mom is 39 and Dad is 50. Ok.
- HOW TONE DEAF IS THIS FILM?!
- On another note, I think I have an idea for a horror film.