‘They’ve only gone and done it again!’ went hoards of clunking dolts as John Lewis’ Christmas ad went viral. What many viewers have failed to address is the highly sinister undertones manifest throughout this Crimbo cry-fest.
Watch again and note how it conveys an air of ChildLine, with the parents of the protagonist seemingly unable to grace their little bundles of joy with even the slightest bit of affection.
The scene is set amid sleepy suburbia. There could have been a murder. Here’s where we meet our Kevin. His frequent sighing indicates he’s depressed. He sits like a prisoner on the cold landing, throwing a ball against the wall like McQueen in the cooler. He’s then seen tapping manically on the table like a bear gone mental at a Russian zoo.
‘Can make a good man turn bad’
Not content subscribing to the old adage that a watched pot never boils, our boy attempts to speed up time by revolving in his father’s chair at a terrifying, unnatural pace. His sister looks on, petrified. These scenes are interspersed with frequent sighing. I hate people that sigh.
Kevin’s latent insomnia is briefly alluded to, followed by a Groundhog Day-esque montage in which his family can be seen enjoying is solitude in the background. Themes of time and the occult are touched upon. The boy is then seen locked outside, sighing, ominously toing-and-froing in the freezing conditions (note the breath condensation, a blatant homage to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense).
The father, oblivious to his child’s boredom, nullifies his son’s incessant fidgeting with a threatening hand. At dinner, little Tommy doesn’t so much as eat, but rather shovel his food like some soulless spectre. Fleeting glances from his parents convey not the eternal love of a parent, nor concern, but rather a sort of stifled panic not seen since The Exorcist. Kevin throws himself under the covers, wishing it would all go away.
It’s Christmas, and Kevin wakes and makes his way toward his parents’ bedroom. Upon arriving he’s met with a look that says, ‘how the hell did you survive the abortion?’ rather than the glee of a young family experiencing their first Christmas together.
Kevin smiles, and moves toward the bed holding a parcel that has suspiciously similar dimension to that of a head. His sister is nowhere to be seen.
‘Guess what’s in here, you bastards?’
‘For gifts you can’t wait to give.’