I suppose if you’re going into Silent Night wanting to revisit the good old days of the 1980s slasher genre, it will probably meet your expectations. However, if you’re looking even for a miniscule amount of logic –answering a question posed by the main character – then the film will disappoint. I couldn’t find much here to be entertaining. The Blu-ray also doesn’t have much to offer. The audio and video transfers are good but the features are lacking.
Anchor Bay | R – 94 min. – $29.99 | December 4, 2012
Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Writer(s): Jayson Rothwell (screenplay)
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, Brendan Fehr
Theatrical Release Date: November 30, 2012
Features: Featurette, Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.2 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
“He knows who’s been naughty”. Please note, this will be my biggest bone of contention…
The slasher horror genre was huge in the 1980s especially since it was cheap to make, much like it is today, albeit slasher has turned into “torture porn” in this early 21st century. Now, admittedly, I’m not much of a fan of slasher movies preferring classic horror so watching Silent Night which is homage to the ‘80s slasher was not my cup of tea… or gallon of blood, take your pick.
The story is set in a small Wisconsin town with a tiny police force which includes bumbling, self-important Sheriff Cooper (MALCOLM MCDOWELL), lazy Deputy Giles (ANDREW CECON), a slightly sassy dispatcher named Brenda (ELLEN WONG) and Officer Aubrey Bradimore (JAIME KING) who is our main character for this bloody journey.
The violence and mayhem begins at the movie start where we find our killer Santa gearing up Batman Forever style with a bound woman in one room and a Christmas light bound fellow (BRANDAN FEFR) in the basement. This is our Saw moment as the guy begins to plead with Killer Santa that he didn’t know the woman was married, etc., etc. but it doesn’t matter as KS turns the Christmas lights into high gear blowing all kinds of bodily circuits, even blowing his mind out. It’s a gruesome but eye-catching entrance for KS…
As we meet others in town, including a creepy preacher, a placating mayor, his slutty daughter and a few others that certainly won’t be the target of Killer Santa. Going on during the slaughters is, of course, a massive Santa contest where hundreds compete to be crowned… something or other. The only point is so our Killer Santa can roam the streets without being noticed.
So, Killer Santa continues to strike seemingly at random first by killing a bratty teenage girl followed by a porn director, his assistant and the actress. As you can imagine, gallons upon gallons of blood is spilt with some gratuitous nudity thrown in for good measure.
With the blood and bodies piling up, the police finally get involved. Bradimore is on the scene from the beginning of the movie and discovers that the man in the basement is a fellow deputy who had not shown up to work that day. She continues the search upstairs and finds an even grislier discovery of the woman cut up. The cocky Sheriff arrives later and despite the knowledge of a serial killer being on the loose, as the porn crime scene was called in, he chooses not to bring in outside help and vows to stop the maniac killer himself. It should be noted that whenever the Sheriff is onscreen, a comedic twangy score plays over it.
So, what is this Killer Santa’s modus operandi? Well, Bradimore surmises he is going after bad people and asks, paraphrasing now, how he’s able to determine who has been naughty. Good question deputy, unfortunately by film’s end, it’s never answered and completely ignored. In fact, it makes no bloody sense how Killer Santa knows what he does outside of one kill which I will leave out of this review since it plays into the killer’s background.
Silent Night was directed by Steven C. Miller, whose career has consisted of helming ho-hum to below average action-horror films, no doubt went in wanting to pay homage to the 1980s slasher subgenre and on that front, he succeeded. However, the times are different and although I appreciate what Miller attempted to do, I still cannot move past certain aspects to the story, more specifically the actions of the Killer Santa.
For instance, as I mentioned before, the main character herself asks how he’s able to determine the naughty one’s to kill. On a couple of the slaughters, one could argue he simply observed (fair enough), but on others (such as the teenage brat), was he merely wandering by and heard the argument between the girl and her mother? It’s never explained and if not for the question even being posed, I’d let it go…
With respect to the actors, they all deliver OK performances. Malcolm McDowell, similar to Samuel L. Jackson, is going into the twilight of his career merely playing himself with little distinction from one role to the next (this is more of a comedic twist on his Dr. Loomis role in the Halloween remake); Jaime King serves well as the movie’s protagonist, though the character laments she’s not cut out for the job and right until the end, proves she indeed is not (example: her father tells her to follow her gut on who the Killer Santa is… and she’s sorely wrong); and Donal Logue is mostly wasted as a poorly executed red herring. There’s others here, but they’re mostly food for Killer Santa.
In the end, Silent Night certainly will satisfy the fake blood lust for fans of the slasher subgenre which has been mostly MIA for 20 years. Having not seen Silent Night, Deadly Night, the film this is loosely based off of, I can’t make comparisons but on its own, I wasn’t that thrilled. Maybe I’m tired that instead of a coherent story – with coherent motives for the killer – is replaced with buckets of blood. For me, it’s not very clever and even less entertaining. If I wanted fake blood and an inane plot I would revisit any one of the Saw sequels.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
Silent Night: Behind the Scenes (6:15) is a basic EPK featurette offering behind the camera footage and little else (not even cast/crew interviews).
Deleted Scenes (5:02) – These are some scenes excised from the final cut for one reason or another, though probably mostly due to pacing.
A retail DVD Copy is also included.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Silent Night hatchets its way onto Blu-ray with a nice looking 1080p high-definition transfer and presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture pretty much looks similar to other Anchor Bay releases as it’s fairly smooth with little to no grain or noise though the detail levels are still good and the faces rarely have that waxy texture.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track comes to life with each slashing, killing and blood-curdling screams with good clarity through each speaker. Other elements such as normal dialogue and some action sequences also come across the other channels nicely enough as well. I wouldn’t call this an outstanding lossless track but an effective one.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, I suppose if you’re going into Silent Night wanting to revisit the good old days of the 1980s slasher genre, it will probably meet your expectations. However, if you’re looking even for a miniscule amount of logic –answering a question posed by the main character – then the film will disappoint. I couldn’t find much here to be entertaining. The Blu-ray also doesn’t have much to offer. The audio and video transfers are good but the features are lacking.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.