With the festive period now upon us, it's the time of year to bring out those films that are best watched at Christmas time. You've got Home Alone, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Scrooged, Miracle on 34th Street, It's A Wonderful Life, The Empire Strikes Back, Batman Returns, Bad Santa and a slew of others that give that special festive feeling. Quite how much of a festive feeling the last three in that list give to people is open to debate, but they're regularly on my list of Christmas viewing. One thing that you don't see that much of these days, bar 2006′s Black Christmas, is festive horror films. With the release of Silent Night, we have another festive slasher to add to this small collection. Loosely based on 1984′s Silent Night, Deadly Night, the film tells the story of a murderous Santa on a killing spree on Christmas Eve in a small American town. Complete with classic tag-line ? "He knows if you've been naughty" - the film is an unashamedly kitsch, cheesy, brutal hark back to the days of the traditional slasher flick. The kills come thick and fast, with Santa showing no remorse to those that have been naughty in his eyes. Each kill is different to the others, with the brutality and gore plentiful. Ol' Saint Nicholas uses a variety of weapons ? an axe, hatchet, knife, flame thrower, a wood chipper (hey, Fargo!), deer antlers and Christmas lights amongst others ? as he tears his way through his naughty list. Out to stop him is the local Sheriff's department, with Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Gangster No 1, Rob Zombie's Halloween) in the role of Sheriff Cooper. Cooper's team is made up of Jaime King (Sin City, The Tripper, The Spirit), Ellen Wong (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) and Brendan Fehr (Roswell High, CSI: Miami). Early on in the film, Jaime King's Aubrey Bradimore is firmly established as the lead of the piece, with the nervous, unsure of herself Bradimore leading the hunt to track down the dastardly Santa. To complicate matters, with the film being set on Christmas Eve, there are Santas everywhere. The small town has a seemingly endless amount of people dressed up as Kris Kringle, most of them having worked as Santa for the festive period and most of them having an attitude. One such Father Christmas is played by the naturally charismatic Donal Logue (Grounded For Life, Blade, Shark Night 3D). Logue plays the part of a blunt, aggressively honest, down-on-Christmas Santa. Along with Malcolm McDowell, he chews up every scene that he's in. With McDowell, it's a very fine line between whether I like his performance or if it's just horrendous. As a McDowell fan, I'm inclined to lean towards the former. The problem is his delivery and his accent; at times he sounds English, at other times he sounds English with a far too forced American twang. Hearing him deliver 'ass' and 'garbage' just sounds wrong. That said, the same could be noted of his performance as Sam Loomis in Rob Zombie's visions of Halloween and Halloween II. It also doesn't help that some of the lines that McDowell's Sheriff Cooper comes out with are just pure unadulterated, cheesy one liners. At first they sound cringeworthy, but they get better as the film goes on. That may be down to the fact that I grew up on action films riddled with embarrassingly bad one liners. I'd fully understand if others found this to be a major annoyance though. So, with the majority of the dialogue and performances seemingly tongue-in-cheek, the film could be nothing more than a fun, gory, Christmas slaughter ride. The direction by Steven C. Miller (Scream of the Banshee, The Aggression Scale) is actually surprising for a film of this standard. At times, the direction is fresh, crisp and detailed ? much like a Christmas night. There's also a well utilised festive soundtrack to accompany the bloodsplattering action. Jaime King in the lead role is sympathetic and fine for what she needs to be. The performance doesn't set the world alight, but it gets the job done. In fairness to King, she does seem to be one of the few that is playing the film straight. It's just a shame for her that the rest of the cast are hamming it up. There's also the slight problem of finding yourself cheering on Santa at times, especially when it comes to a slimy, perverted man of the clergy that he takes out. Personally, I like that the film is a little tongue-in-cheek. At times, particularly with the relatively innovative deaths and the gore used, the film gives an almost Troma-lite feel. Anybody familiar with myself or my interest in film knows where I stand on Troma, so that is another plus point for Silent Night. If you're expecting a tension filled masterclass of suspense, Silent Night is not the film for you. Silent Night is not to Christmas what John Carpenter's Halloween is to Halloween. However, if you're after a unique, sinister, gory, festive film to kill 90 minutes, then this film fits the bill perfectly. In regards to the original, this is a remake in the very loosest of terms. There are a few nods to the original film here and there, such as the catatonic grandparent, but little else apart from the big bearded fella in the red suit. Silent Night is a throwaway film in the best possible way. It's the type of film that you can just pop on without having to engage your brain. If you like your ho-ho-horror (bad Christmas pun) bloody, to the point, cheesy and with a dark sense of humour then I'd recommend Silent Night for at least a one-off viewing. For those that go into this with an open mind, I give this festive slasher a respectable 6 out of 10 stars.
Now this is not a straight forward remake of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, but it does pay homage in a few scenes, if you remember how Linnea Quigley dies in the original you'll know what i mean....its a solid film based on its own merit and storyline, some great gore and death scenes, and good acting by the most of the cast..unfortunately apart from Malcolm Mcdowell, who plays the sheriff, terrible dialogue and terrible acting, that was the only issue i had with it, because all round a great seasonal slasher, this will definitely be on the slasher/ horror list to watch every Christmas with all the rest, BLACK Christmas, Don't OPEN TILL Christmas, Christmas EVIL, SANTA CLAWS, THE Christmas SEASON MASSACRE, GREMLINS, SILENT NIGHT BLOODY NIGHT, BLACK XMAS, SINT (SAINT). Watch it, enjoy it.
oh wow. Steven C Miller's Silent Night (2012) was everything I wanted from a slasher film and more. I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this film. It's spot on with everything and really both embraces the cheese of the 80's but also keeps it scary. This is one of the rare remakes that is better then the original in every way. Having seen the infamous original Silent Night, Deadly Night awhile back ago, I wasn't that impressed. It was a decent twisted tale but it didn't really live up to the hype. More could have been done and here the film makers have fully honored the original and not only build their own story on it but told it better. I have to give director, Steven C Miller a lot of respect not just as a horror fan but also as a film maker. I loved the fact that he actually made it scary. So little horror films, and even fewer slasher films, remember that not all the 80's slasher films were cheesy. This film played it real and raw. I loved the fact that it looked like a real film. It was really well acted, well shot (loved the camera work and framing) and pitch perfect. Miller comes off as a real lover of horror and respects it, which is why this film works so well. Even though they play a lot of the horror in a realistic way... he still manages to give us outlandish death scenes, great gore, nudity and wonderful homages to the original. I don't want to give it away but if your lover of the original two films then you will catch them. I sure did and I screamed with joy because a lot of the film makers who do horror remakes, even more the ones who aren't horror fans, like to come off as snobbish when it comes to the original and Miller instead embraces them. This film also works because it's not a retelling of the original film, instead it uses the original as a springboard to do their own version of the concept and in a lot of ways it stays really more true to the original's tone. Jamie King and Donal Logue really broke out for me acting wise because both delivered performances that really made their characters feel like real people with real emotions... that's rare in today's horror films. On the campy side, have to love Malcolm McDowell who totally hams up her performance in a great way. His character provides some great comic moments and really helps to remind us not to take this film too seriously and to have fun with it. Silent Night is going to be high on my list of favorite films not just because I totally loved it as a film but also as an inspiration for me, as someone who wants to make these kind of films. This is a great example of why some films do need to be remade by people who love respect the genre and love it.
A pretty straightforward remake of the sicko seasonal 1984 classic "Silent Night, Deadly Night", this is all just insane enough, mean-spirited enough, and sadistic enough, to tickle genre fans looking for a no-fooling-around good time. Filmed in my own home province of Manitoba, in Canada, it's actually set in Wisconsin, as a demented moralizer dressed in Santa Claus garb is hellbent on punishing the naughty - insufferable brats, pornographers, slutty teens, everyone is fair game. A young police deputy (the lovely Jaime King) who's not sure she's cut out to be an officer of the law is among those following the mutilated corpses that Psycho Santa is leaving in his wake. Die hard horror fans will relish the high body count and the plethora of practical gore; digital bloodshed is kept to a minimum. They'll also be happy with the amount of female skin on display; Courtney-Jane White, playing Tiffany, is a real looker, but it's Cortney Palm as porno actress Maria who delivers a pleasing dose of extended gratuitous nudity. Palm also figures in what has to be the highlight of the piece. I won't say too much, but let's just say it's similar to something that happens in the Coen brothers' "Fargo". Commendably, none of this is ever played TOO seriously, and fans of the original "Silent Night, Deadly Night" parts 1 and 2 will love the nods to memorable sequences and lines from those two films. This makes for good no-brainer entertainment, and it's done with a reasonable amount of slickness; note the lighting and the atmospheric quality of the final showdown with Aubrey and the killer. It's also worth a mention how the filmmakers are willing to slaughter the younger members of the cast. Director Steven C. Miller keeps the action flowing, and the cast gives this a great effort. King, who'd pulled remake duty in "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" as well, is winning in the lead, and veteran Malcolm McDowell is a total hoot as her macho, posturing sheriff. Donal Logue as cynical Santa performer Jim, Ellen Wong as dispatcher Brenda, Lisa Marie as Mrs. Morwood, and Brendan Fehr as ill-fated deputy Jordan round out a good group of actors. The only real complaint on this viewers' part is that there's no wintertime feel to any of this. Would it have killed the filmmakers to at least have SOME snow on the ground? Overall, though, not bad. Seven out of 10.
Now here's a surprising little horror gem; Silent Night remakes the controversial cult classic horror film Silent Night, Deadly Night. The original 1984 film quite possibly faced more controversy and public backlash than any other horror film at the time, with the exception of maybe Cannibal Holocaust. Silent Night cuts down on the depravity and the sickening mean-spirit of the original. It's a rather enjoyably gory romp with a concept that, for me, will never get old. The story is simple; in a sleepy suburban town, a tall man, baring a mask and a Santa suit begins committing several bloody homicides on Christmas Eve. Dispatched on the case is officer Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King), who is constantly irritated by her needy, petulant, but also hilarious boss played by horror icon Malcolm McDowell. As she attempts to spend the holidays collectively, after losing her husband just a year prior around this same time, she finds it difficult when she is hunting down a crazed, sadistic killer whose footprints seem to be right under her's. I grew up with twisted little genre exercises like this. As a kid, I feasted on films boasting outrageous killers and twisted setups. One of them was Santa's Slay, which, to this day, holds up as a complete film with scares, characters, quirkiness, and delightful black comedy, all while boasting one of the most entertaining horror figures of the 2000's. Going into this expecting a modest crossover between the original film and Santa's Slay, I was alarmed to find out that the film offers little humor, instead amping up the intensity and the bleakness of a horror film, all while maintaining its true nature. One of the most notable sequences involves a nude model escaping a low-rent apartment after both photographers were killed and is left nearly helpless as she wanders throughout the back allies of the area. She runs into a crowded area with an active woodchipper and, while we see where this is going, we anticipate in an unsettling way what will happen and when it comes, we are thrilled and stunned how the film won't cop out and pull punches. It shows us just what we want and doesn't pull the typical "quick cut" move we've become so accustomed to. Silent Night features quite possibly some of the goriest, most entertaining kills of the year, only topping it could be the gruesome lunacy of Marcus Dunstan's The Collection. To see this year's wide-releases such as The Apparition, The Devil Inside, House at the End of the Street, and Paranormal Activity 4 desperately try to to rustle up genre-scares and fail is a pathetic blow to the integrity and the capabilities of the entire horror genre. This is one of the first horror films of the year that I was proud to have sought out. It stays faithful to its genre and its cast and its crew seem to have had a lot of fun keeping it from straying into idiocy. NOTE: Silent Night closes with a terrific revisionist anthem of one of the most iconic Christmas songs. It's fittingly called Silent Night, Deadly Night, and properly closes this quick , spontaneously enjoyable little film. Starring: Jaime King. Malcolm McDowell, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, and Brendan Fehr. Directed by: Steven C. Miller.