November 30, 2012 (U.S.)
Steven C. Miller
Jamie King as: Audrey Bradimore
Donal Logue as: Santa Jim
Malcolm McDowell as: Sheriff Cooper
Ellen Wong as: Brenda
Brendan Fher as: Deputy Jordan
Silent Night is another horror remake, this time of an original that has achieved cult status since it’s release in 1984. The original Silent Night, Deadly Night is an infamous, mean-spirited slasher flick that received notoriety partially because of the controversy it caused when it was released.
A vicious serial killer, dressed as Santa, is brutally killing citizens in a small town that he has deemed as being naughty on Christmas Eve. The police are hot on his trail. They are led by Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) who is short on police officers when one of them doesn’t show up to work. They soon discover that he was one of the killer’s victims. He calls in Officer Audrey Bradimore (Jamie King) who was off that day to work. Despite the fact she’s been going through a rough period since the death of her husband, which she blames herself for, she takes the investigation head on, as they try to stop this madman with an ever increasing body count.
The original Silent Night, Deadly Night is an infamous, mean-spirited slasher flick that has a pretty strong cult following. This is, at least partially due to the controversy it caused back when it got released. Parental groups got pretty pissed off that a horror movie featuring a killer dressed as Santa was getting advertised. They protested it, but as is almost always case with something like this; it became a hit. The movie itself was a pretty entertaining and nasty little flick. So, now comes this reimagining of the movie. It takes the basic idea, but presents us with a totally new movie. And, it manages to do this quite well.
In all Silent Night is technically a better movie than the one that inspired it. It’s also not as mean-spirited, but this isn’t to say that it’s a PC movie. The kills are bloody and quite good. It has a nice double digit body count, as our villain offs victims left and right. The face bisection by axe ranks as one of the coolest gore scenes of the year. The other kills that include stabbings, impaling, immolation, a head shot, an eye splattering electrocution, dismemberment, and more, including the on-screen, violent death of a bratty, little girl! All of which is accomplished by some really good gore FX. The image of Santa using a blowtorch to kill people is just so damn cool and enough to guarantee pissing someone off that does not want to see the “sanctity” of Christmas being ruined. There is even a throwdown between two Santas!
Sadly, this scene and other fight scenes are shot in an annoying use of the dreaded shakey cam. Thankfully, none of the kills are shot in this style, so that one can revel in all their bloody goodness. Actually, there are some nice, stylish uses of the Christmas colors red and green, in particular in the exciting climax, where director Steven Miller does a nice job of building suspense.
What I really liked in Silent Night is the really funny jet-black sense of humor that movie has. It’s never morbid or depressing, as it’s just way to enjoyable. But that being said, it does revel in pointing out the darker side of Christmas. That’s something I can totally get behind. Yet, at funny as it is, it’s never at the expense of making the killer look silly or the movie descending into farce territory.
Fellow fans of the original movie will enjoy the fact that there a couple of nods to it and one of its sequels, including a hot blonde (sadly not topless) getting impaled on antlers, much like Linnea Quigley’s infamous and classic death scene from Silent Night, Deadly Night. I won’t ruin the other moments because it’s more fun for you to discover them for yourselves, as I did. And, speaking of hotties, the movie has a beautiful female cast. That said while some cleavage is shown by some of them, only one girl actually gets topless. But, she ranks as one of the movie’s hottest, so you will be happy.
Also beautiful, but sadly fully clothed, is our lead actress, Jamie King. She’s becoming a veteran of quality holiday slasher remakes with lead roles in My Bloody Valentine 3D and Mother’s Day. As with those movies, she’s great in her role as a tough as nails, final girl. She also manages to add depth and sympathy to a wild and crazy flick. Meanwhile, Malcolm McDowell is a wonderful addition as the sheriff and Ellen Wong is good in her supporting role as the pretty and sarcastic police station receptionist Brenda.
In all, this is a movie that in many ways improves on its predecessor, though that film does hold more of a special place in my black heart. Silent Night is a fun, bloody, and wild entry in the Christmas horror film subgenre. I, personally, wouldn’t mind seeing this become its’ own franchise. Now, let’s just wait and see if it inspires any controversy of its’ own. In the meantime, definitely give it a look when it hits DVD and Blu-ray on December 4th of this year.