An older woman stares at her drink from the bar. Worn from life, she sucks down a drink to escape into an alcoholic stupor. A seedy character enters and sits down next to her. He passes her an envelope, she passes him a stack of cash. The envelope contains a shocking photograph, though we’re not quite able to see what it is.
Across town a streetwalker makes her way through the city. A car follows her down an alley and she dutifully steps in. After suffering a brutal beating, she grabs the dollar bills spread across the dashboard and walks away in tears. The man in the vehicle puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger just as she walks away, never looking back.
These two seemingly disconnected events are connected by the photograph and we see its origins in a flashback. While I don’t want to spoil the surprise, you can easily guess how the four people are connected after this revelation and it’s not pleasant. The ending provides yet another twist as we realize some of these people were set up. Serious, clever and well photographed for a digital short, “Happy Holidaze” is anything but happy, but it’s damn solid filmmaking that left me wanting more.