Silent Night (2012)
Company: Genre Co.
Runtime: 94 mins
Plot: The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.
Review: I know this is probably the exact opposite time of year to be doing a review of Silent Night, but I've had it sitting on my computer since December and only just now realized I've never put up it up on the blog yet and I don't really feel like waiting almost a year before I do. Now, this Silent Night is a loose remake of the classic 1980's Christmas horror flick Silent Night, Deadly Night, though apart from the very basic idea of a killer dressed as Santa Clause murdering people on Christmas Eve, this really has nothing at all in common with that movie.
Which as it turns out, I was actually really happy about when all was said and done, because this movie turned out to be an excellent stand-alone Christmas horror flick that's a great throw-back to classic 1980's teen slashers. Every death scene is different from one another and unique, never feeling repetitious, though they're all hilariously outlandish and over-the-top gory, some even going so far as to be pretty bold (in one scene the killer Santa takes out a snotty preteen girl by first tasering her and then ramming a fire poker through her face). Think of just how ruthless and downright brutal the Michael Myers character was in Rob Zombie's Halloween remakes, now take that package, put it in a much better movie, dress it up in a Santa suit and beard, and you've essentially got the killer in this movie.
Silent Night also goes that extra mile to fully incorporate Christmas by having tons of decorations up in the backgrounds, people setting up their trees, handing out presents, partaking in caroling, having a Christmas parade, and most importantly - the movie includes actual Christmas music in its soundtrack. Christmas music is an integral aspect to any Christmas movie, regardless of genre. Without it, it doesn't feel like a Christmas movie, especially with horror ones, and it seems most horror christmas movies leave out the actual Christmas music which is a big no-no in my books. Having it there really helps with the whole Christmas setting.
Hell, this movie even one-ups the original Silent Night, Deadly Night by having the killer Santa actually fully look like Santa Claus. In the original, the killer didn't really wear the beard around his face, he just had it lowered down under his chin, hanging from around his neck which kind of begs the question of why do a killer Santa movie if you aren't going to make your killer actually look like Santa? It was my biggest complaint of the original. But at least in this remake the killer has the beard up where it's meant to be and he fully looks like Santa Claus.
As far as Direct-to-Video flicks go, the acting is pretty good here from anyone who's not a priest (that guy was just beyond brutal). The always-lovely Jamie King did fine with what she had, but Malcolm McDowell as the Sheriff is where the real show is at - the guy is so hilarious with his melodramatic dialog and specific line deliveries that I can't help but think that at least some of his stuff was ad-libbed on the spot. Whenever this guy was on-screen, you knew you'd be in for a damn good time.
Also unlike the original movie, the identity of the killer is kept secret for most of the movie, and because of that the movie tosses red herrings left, right, & center, pretty hardcore and really makes you guess as to which of our cast of quirky characters might be the killer. Which would be fine, except for the fact that the identity of the killer comes within the final few seconds of the movie and was a gigantic let-down because it ended up being such a tiny insignificant character that I was left more confused then anything, trying to backtrack in my mind if that was even a character we had seen in the movie before. I couldn't remember seeing him anywhere at all, but the movie acted like it was some big gigantic revelation. Also hurting the score a bit are the extremely annoying and unnecessary lens flares - there are points in the movie where the lens flares actually prevent you from seeing large portions of the screen - they really are THAT bad. And IMO, there was no point in having them as they added nothing at all to the movie, nor do they exactly scream 'Christmas'.
Even though I'm pretty weary of horror remakes, Silent Night turned out to be one really fun, gory, and hilariously cheesy B-horror Christmas movie that any fan of campy 80's teen slashers should enjoy (if you can get past the over-abundance of Lens Flare that is). I just fear that too many people will unfairly shit on it just because 'its nothing like the original'. With that said however, there is one death sequence that is a really nice throw-back to an almost identical one in the original, and there was one absolutely hilarious homage to the infamous scene from Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, so there is still some stuff in there for diehard fans of the original series.
Out of all the recent crappy so-called horror movies that make it to theaters and then seem to always churn out sequel after sequel, this is the one recent horror movie that I actually want a sequel for, and it ended up being dumped Direct-to-Video. Even though I've heard no word on such happening as of yet, my fingers are crossed that someday in the near future we'll start getting news on a Silent Night 2: Yule Tide Fear or some other such title - ha, I crack myself up!
8/10 rooms in the Psych Ward