The closest that the wonderfully perverse 2019 horror flick "S'ids Lake," which is available on a Pacific Northwest VOD service that shall remain shameless, comes to holiday fare is reflecting the family dysfunction around which the sublimely ridiculous MUST-SEE 1994 Denis Leary dark comedy "The Ref" is centered.
The substance in this indie film full of style is the concept of perception that pervades from the opening voice-over narration to the insightful amusing quote in the end credits. The legendary Robin Williams expressed this as "reality, what a concept." This focuses on the titular excitable teen (Kristian Pierce) being the boy with something extra. The icing on the cake is that this may be as much of an illusion as many other aspects of the film. This element REQUIRES watching the stinger after the end credits.
A specific highlight of "S'ids" is the performance of veteran character actor Tom McLaren, whose portrayal of despised biology teacher Mr. Gabriel (who lacks any chemistry with Sid) expertly shows the dark side of the hilarious deadpan style for which McLaren is known. We tease McLaren a lot because we've got him on the spot.
It seems that the only thing that can be taken at face value is that the hard-knock life of Sid dates back to his birth. Mama don't want him; Daddy don't want him. A significant aspect of this is a prominent physical scar that facially represents these internal injuries.
The relationship between Sid and "left behind" classmate Kurt perfectly demonstrates the ambiguity of "S'ids." The audience initially is certain that Kurt is a real live (for now) boy who delights in tormenting our dude who seems to have the sixth sense. That certainty lessens on Sid referring to having a 25 year-old constantly whisper in his ear. Subsequent events indicate that Kurt is not an imaginary frienemy,
There also is a high level of ambiguity as to the death of Sid's little Margie and her subsequent demise. It seems clear that our lead is responsible for this is until the figurative waters become murky. The presence of a woman, her husband, and her other husband create more doubt as to the extent to which the events of the film are the product of the mind of Sid.
The fast pace and overall style of the film firmly places the viewer in the shoes of the oft-befuddled Sid. We lack confidence in our perception of events that may not ever have occurred. This roller-coaster ride continues to the point at which our car abruptly comes to a complete and full stop.
The most relevant real-world analogy to "S'ids" is the almost inevitable disappointment on trying to recreate cherished childhood and post-adolescent memories. The house of our wonder years almost always is smaller and less nice than remembered. Further, meals at our favorite hometown or college-era restaurants are never as good as recalled.
To a lesser extent, clothes and furniture that seem ideal at the store often fall short when we get them home. The same concept applies to beloved movies of even a few years ago almost certainly disappointing when we introduce them to friends and family.
The apt final thought regarding all this is that our minds often create happy memories to help us cope with harsh realities.