Fantastic Fest Review: Holiday

Grueling Danish drama elicits unlikely sympathies

Isabella Eklöf might be Denmark’s next big thing. With her debut film Holiday, she has constructed a film worth pondering – one that won’t always have the answers that lead toward a happy ending.

Billed as a “rape-revenge” movie by some, the latter of the phrase isn’t necessarily an aspect of the film. It’s a gritty tale about horrendous people, where nightmarish things happen to ugly people, daring you to feel empathy for characters you won’t necessarily like.

Nadim Carlsen’s crisp and polished cinematography in Holiday juxtaposes the scummy cast of characters. Lurking around a pearly white house, Sascha (Victoria Carmen Sonne) joins a drug lord (Lai Yde) and his closest friends and family for a vacation. They’re obnoxious, with little value for anything outside luxury items. Vanity clings to them, and with money comes a power people like this should not have.

Holiday is not designed for you to fall in love with Sascha. She’s naive, and it’s gut-punching when she consistently chooses to smile coyly with these clowns as they abuse and take advantage of her. Every man who approaches Sascha feels like a threat, and it doesn’t matter how charming their smile is. You want to reach out and protect her tiny frame from these greasy goons with crooked, sinister smiles.

With the knowledge that Holiday has a particularly nasty and difficult to watch rape scene in mind, every man introduced brings you to high alert. Everyone is a looming threat. It reflects a sickening reality for the daily life of a woman, and however difficult to watch it’s important to listen when a woman chooses to share a story of this kind.


Texas premiere
Wed., Sept. 26, 2pm

Fantastic Fest runs Sept. 20-27. For more news, reviews, and interviews, as well as our daily show with the podcast network, visit

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Fantastic Fest, Fantastic Fest 2018, Holiday, Isabella Eklöf

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