[BD Review] ‘Silent Night’ Will Spread Some Holiday Cheer For Slasher Fans

He’s making a list and checking it twice.
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.

If you’re on Santa’s naughty list, you’re in for a lot more than a lump of coal in Steven C. Miller’s liberal remake of the scandalous 80s slasher, Silent Night, Deadly Night. While Silent Night does not add anything new to the subgenre, it delivers the ho ho horror with its spectacular kills and tongue-in-cheek humor. This is a fun film that is bound to spread some holiday cheer in the hearts’ of slasher fans.

Of the countless slashers I’ve seen, the 1984 Silent Night, Deadly Night is one that has stuck with me through the years. Santa Claus is the epitome of all that is joyful and good during the holiday season. The idea of turning Santa into a murderous creature of retribution is nothing if not twisted. The original film took the holiday joy and spun it into a darkly funny, sadistic legacy of a slasher film. While Silent Night, Deadly Night may not hold the same gravitas as films like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, Steven C. Miller had quite the job ahead of him with this remake.

Silent Night is very, very loosely based on the 1984 film, which works wholly to its advantage. Rather than playing within the confines of the original, it takes it’s own, rather simple, approach to vengeful Santa. In a small off-the-map town, several morally inept citizens find themselves on slasher Santa’s naughty list. Their brutally slaughtered bodies turn up one by one, leaving a messy trail for the local police. On the case are the irrational Sheriff (Malcolm Mcdowell) and his shrewd but tentative deputy (Jamie King). The plot is bare bones, but it works as a suitable backdrop for Santa’s spectacular kills.

From the get go Santa’s rampage is dirty, violent, and gruesome, which most of you should appreciate. He employs a wide range of weapons to ensure that each murder is as amusing as it is bloody. The kills come non-stop, and are ultimately what drive the film forward.

What I like most about the kills is that Miller doesn’t waste time setting up unnecessary relationships between characters in an attempt to make you feel empathy. Every character that dies ultimately deserves it. The Fargo-esque woodchopper kill alone makes the film worth watching. But my favorite kill involves a bratty thirteen-year-old yelling, “Fuck church!” only to be callously killed moments later.

Silent Night undertakes the same comically bleak tone of the original, while managing to be cleverly self-reflexive. Steven C. Miller has an obvious affection for 80s horror, but understands modern audiences demand moments of cheeky humor and awe-inducing gore. The dialogue is often ridiculous, hitting the comedic mark it shoots for. Malcolm Mcdowell is especially good as the dimwitted and pompous sheriff, ensuring that even the most serious of viewers will let out a chuckle.

I imagine some will say that the film takes on a similar aesthetic to a lot of horror remakes but I beg to differ. For a moderately low-budget film, Miller manages to make it look massive in scope. Silent Night offers interesting shot composition and framing techniques that give it a gritty, yet oddly beautiful edge. Miller makes splendid use of the holiday color scheme, employing an abundance of bright red, green, and blue lights to create a candy-coated aesthetic to contrast with the bloodshed. The practical effects work is top notch without relying on digital enhancement for shock factor.

Silent Night has its shortcomings beyond the simple plot. Because the film jumps right into the kills without any exposition, there is no real sense of mystery throughout the film. The reveal of the Santa’s identity falls a flat as a result. The replay factor comes only from the kills, and if you’re looking for something more mentally substantial, you’ll have to look elsewhere this holiday season.

Silent Night is a modern slasher with its heart in the 80s. As a remake, it maintains the same level of cheese, dark humor, and seduction as the original Silent Night, Deadly Night. Thanks to Miller’s artistic eye, the film look far better than most studio remakes, and it’s way more fun. Silent Night is gorily entertaining from start to finish, making it a worthwhile holiday horror flick.

 

Official Score

  • ShadowJayd

    Actually sounds really fucking cool, Lonnie. “But my favorite kill involves a bratty thirteen-year-old yelling, “Fuck church!” only to be callously killed moments later.” Made me lawl.

  • djblack1313

    the film is barely a 2.5. barely.

    • Vittoriokiss

      I agree with you, this movie is not very good at all.

  • djblack1313

    something people might want to know about the gore/kills are almost all of them are total CGI creations. one guy’s eyes explode but it’s horrible CGI. the little 13 year old Lon mentions has 100% CGI “foam”(?) or something coming out of her mouth. it looked really bad. the bratty girl is written so ridiculously over the top (she knocks her mom’s heart meds out of her hands and says “who care? i want to go to the mall!”). another example is the pervert priest who hits on any woman including Jaimie King’s (the deputy!!) character. he also steals money from donations plate at church. cliche, stock characters.

    • Lonmonster

      I disagree, man. There is a good mix of practical and digital effects. Almost all the gore is practical. I LOVE how cheesy the characters are.

    • Lonmonster

      A quote about the movie from the director, “I was going to be practical with the film and Vincent Guastini and the guys that did the effects have worked on my films before and know that I know how to shoot that kind of stuff, I am very particular on how I shoot it and so when they are building it they already know the camera angles, while they are building the prosthetics and that’s what helps make practical effects work.” source – http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-with-silent-night-director-steven-c-miller

  • CHROMExSKULL

    Cant wait to see this, buying the dvd tomorrow. I love holiday horror and the couple reviews I have read have been positive.

  • thalazy

    Awesome! I pre-ordered the Blu-ray from Amazon. Cannot wait to watch it this weekend. Looks like a fun slasher for the holidays.

  • Steve

    I agree with DjBlack, this movie was below average. What a disappointment. And Malcolm McDowell was good!? What movie was I watching? It looked like a paycheck, walk on performance to me. What happened to good slasher movies? Black Christmas anyone?

  • STRIK9

    This film was great considering is 2012.This is by far the best xmas slasher film and dont you weak ass bitches even try to tell me that the bob clark black christmas or original silent night are better than this shit.I hope they crank these out every year from now on.

  • kjon1981

    Can someone please answer this question?

    What is the answer to the crossword puzzle again? The six-sided item that has 9 letters.

    Thanks!!

    • MyScaryHalloween

      “S-n-o-w-f-l-a-k-e”

  • MyScaryHalloween

    I liked the overall production values of this film, but that was one seriously inept script, apparently with intentional bad dialogue and mediocre acting(?!?). Jamie King was great as always, but Malcolm McDowell seemed to be in a different movie altogether. The director was more interested in getting good shots (which he did) but didn’t pay attention to anything else. If it was supposed to be a dumb 80′s film, it wasn’t as fun as it could have been. If it was supposed to be a real horror movie, there was zero suspense. For less sophisticated films it’s best to set a specific tone (serious terror vs. silly hijinks) and maintain it. Then there’s that ending. What exactly happened? Perhaps I’m over thinking it, but if Santa was punishing the “naughty”, why did the less obvious victims get killed? And how did he know who to mark? Those flashbacks didn’t reveal much of anything.

  • Vittoriokiss

    OMG, I saw the movie this weekend, Christmas weekend, what a piece of crap. If it got 1 star that would be extremely generous. Black X-Mas was 100X better that this movie with the worst dialog.

  • Lucianivision

    I agree with you Vittoriokiss. Don’t know what Lonmonster was/is smoking, but this “film” blew Rudolph balls. The first time I watched Psycho Cop 2 I thought it was an extremely fun trash flick, but when I re-watched it a couple of years later, I almost committed suicide. Maybe Lonny will have a similar experience next XMAS.

  • livebrains

    It started okay for me, but man, Jamie King and Malcolm McDowell were so bad in it. I thought Jamie King was just miscast and kind of going through the motions. I never felt any of her emotions were real. Malcolm McDowell was a joke. His scenes were awkward and hammy. The movie could have been at least a fun horror if those two had taken the material and made it the best it could be, but they just tanked it for me.