What should have been your typical dysfunctional Jewish family Thanksgiving dinner, instead turns into an unexpected home invasion with death on the line. Holiday Hostage is a comedic short from director D.W. Moffett and writers/stars David Storch and Abby Walla.
The atmosphere is already tense for siblings David (David Storch) and Abby (Abby Walla) as Thanksgiving dinner is winding down. Mom’s (Maggie Wheeler) non-stop run of family gossip is David and Abby cue to get out of there, but not before Mom’s perfectly prepared pies. Grandma (Bunny Levine) declares “I’m going to annihilate that s**t!”
The family dynamic is set. Mom is an overbearing Jewish mother making every attempt to keep the family together. On the other side, her children desperately need to escape from under the crushing weight of mom’s maternal smothering. Oh, and let’s not forget dirty Grandma ready to get it on. Before the siblings can get out the door, they’re stopped by a crazed gunman Gary (Don Stark). He plans to murder the family the minute Thanksgiving is over, so he can return to the comfortable life he once had in prison.
“…her children desperately need to escape from under the crushing weight of mom’s maternal smothering.”
Holiday Hostage is a comedy exploring family dynamics, and specifically, in this case, the Jewish family dynamic. Mother controls her kids and calls it love. The kids are so neurotic over mom’s constant stream of passive-aggressive disapproval that they have secrets carelessly hidden from mom. And Grandma is in a phase of geriatric sexual rage, just like your average senior.
I’m generally hard on comedies because ultimately they should make you laugh. I laughed in Holiday Hostage, primarily from a few unexpected zingers from Grandma and some nicely placed fart jokes. But most of the short is your typical, dare I say stereotypical, Jewish family conflict. Not necessarily original or groundbreaking and with an ending that can be figured out from sketch comedy aficionados.
That said, I’m not going to give a bad review just because “I’ve seen it before.” The short is professionally produced with a good sitcom feel. The performances from Wheeler, Storch, and Walla are spot on. The comedy and script hit all the right moments, and the 15-minute runtime is perfect so as to not overstay its welcome. I just wish it didn’t repeat the same old ideas and gags, you see in every other family comedy.
Holiday Hostage (2018) Directed by D.W. Moffett. Written by David Storch, Abby Walla. Starring Maggie Wheeler, David Storch, Abby Walla, Bunny Levine, Don Stark.
6 out of 10 stars