[Silent Night]
Synopsis:Loose remake of the controversial slasher classic "Silent Night, Deadly Night". Follows the story of a local police department's search for the killer Santa Claus terrorizing and picking off citizens in their remote Midwestern town on Christmas Eve.

Cast:Malcolm Mcdowell, Jaime King, Brendan Fehr, Lisa Marie, Ellen Wong, Donal Logue, Jessica Cameron, Ali Tataryn, Cortney Palm, Courtney-Jane White, Eric J. Berg, Mike O'Brien, John B. Lowe, Rick Skene.

My Thoughts:Santa Claus has come to town!

Review:"Silent Night" (2012) from Steven C. Miller, is a loose remake of the controversial 80's slasher movie "Silent Night, Deadly Night". The film takes place in a small Wisconsin town, where a killer dawning a Santa suit is handing out gifts to those who've been "naughty", and those who've been "nice". Except those who've been "naughty" get gifts that they cannot return. Because they're dead...you see.

As Santa continues to go from house to house, dealing out death to naughty patrons of the town, it soon becomes up to a local cop (King), and the Sheriff (McDowell) to stop him when the body count continues to rise. Which basically means that Santa's gonna run amok because you know in these movies, small town cops are about as useful as a bubble gum wrapper. But Director Miller does a good job in creating a "Christmas-themed-slasher", that one can enjoy. Either shamefully, or in a black-humor kind of way. Around the holidays.

This isn't the first Christmas-themed horror movie to be made anyways. Bob Clark's "Black Christmas" sticks out the most. Followed by "Silent Night, Deadly Night" (original). The remake of "Black Christmas" (2007), and then the "Silent Night" sequels which hardly anyone remembers past part 2 or 3. And of course those "Jack Frost Mutant Killer Snowman" pictures. Who could ever forget those?! But Miller's film revels in its mean-spiritedness and edge, making it a pretty good remake of the original "SNDN". Even if it is a "loose" redo.

Which basically means the film has given itself some wiggle room to either fly or fail considering it's an indie. And not a major studio picture. Santa in this movie takes no prisoners. And systematically eliminates the towns "morally-lesser" crowd. Which in one quite shocking scene, includes tasering to death a minor! You don't see that every day in a horror movie! In fact, the films opening scene has a pretty grissly death for one guy who is well lets say..."looking for love in all the wrong places".

The difference between this movie and the original though, is that Santa is not just taking people out. He's really focused on the morally corrupt. Or just corrupt in general. It's only later in the movie when he starts killing people who get in his way. But before that, this killer Santa is eliminating people who you could say..."had it coming".
One scene that stands out amongst all the other kills though, is one involving a wood-chipper. Where one unlucky lady has an opportunity to get "chippy" with Santa. It's a pretty brutal scene to watch. And it's very well done as well! This movie is exactly what an indie should be. Harsh, gory, bloody, twisted, and unapologetic. Although there are moments where Santa disappears for long periods of time, that sort of hurt the films pacing.

This is because the movie is juggling many different storylines. Santa and his possible motives for the murders, a few fake Santa's who might be the killer Santa, the townspeople's Christmas activities, some red herrings, and the story between King's character and her past. Jaime King's character is not exactly that exciting to watch. But they manage to give her a decent backstory that involves her ex, and a mistake she made a long time ago.

That might or might not tie in to the current murders. Still, the "cop screw up" storyline is a bit old in these sorts of films. When some cop makes a fatal mistake, and many years later still cannot come to terms. I mean if it's that big of a deal, just leave your little ratty town for a better locale. Sheesh. The "pity me" thing doesn't work that well in the context of a movie. At least in my view. However, King's character comes off as semi-likeable and dedicated to her duty as a police officer so you can kind of feel some sympathy for her plight.

Especially considering the film also builds up the character with two loving parents. One of which acts as a red herring for who might or might not be "Santa". I also appreciated this films use of "tools". Santa really adds some variety to his grissly demises. Everything but the kitchen sink gets used in this film. Electrical devices, axes, woodchippers, and even at some point. St. Nick breaks out a flamethrower! Of course the townspeople are totally at his mercy because they don't see him coming, nor do they have quick access to these things.

And as for the cops, well...beyond King and McDowell's characters. There's not exactly a lot of hope here. Ellen Wong appears in the film as part of the force. Although she's not really a cop. More like a secretary. And then there's another guy who acts as comedy relief. Similar to Isaac Palmer from "Final Destination 5". You know he's gonna die eventually, and isn't exactly "Mr. Muscles" so physically, he won't be handing Santa's ass to him.

Meanwhile King's character is dealing with her own stuff, and McDowell has kind of gotta watch over her so she doesn't do anything wreckless on the job and get herself killed. Yeah, not exactly a force to feel confident in in a situation like this. However, you can also make a case that the Santa in this movie is gonna somehow do himself in because that's usually how it goes with slasher movies. And when you see "Silent Night"s final act, this actually comes to fruition in some ways.

The films conclusion by the way is pretty cool mostly due to the flamethrower being involved. But beyond that, it's a bit sloppily done. And there are some questions about the decisions that our villainous Santa makes in trying to finish off our heroine and who's left to protect her. As a Christmas-themed slasher movie, genre fans should like "Silent Night" a lot. It's no-holds-barred, and embraces its lack of empathy and good taste. It pokes fun at itself and doesn't take the material too seriously. Allowing the viewer to have fun with the viewing experience. See it, if not for Santa-with-a-flame thrower. Then for Santa "wood-chipping" some random chick.

THE GOOD:Santa is ruthless in this movie in his dispensing of justice to the wicked. I also liked his creativity in dispatching the townspeople. And even though the scene where Santa zaps a minor into seizure-land was "shocking" (no pun intended), hey...that's what you get in a movie where "St. Nick" is the killer.

THE BAD:Jaime King didn't seem cut out for the lead. She was too lethargic and stoic. I know the background on her characters was "life sucks", "tragedy", etc. But I just wasn't that happy watching her on screen in this movie. I actually liked Ellen Wong better. Also Santa gets sloppy at the end at the police station. Which didn't make sense for such a precise killer throughout the earlier portions of the film.

OVERALL:Three stars out of four.

( Talk about it in the Forums!)

( Back to the main page)