November 29, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Silent Night'

Silent Night (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Director Steven C. Miller’s third film to see the light of day this year, after The Aggression scale and Under the Bed, is described as a ‘loose remake’ of the 1984 parent-scaring slasher flick Silent Night, Deadly Night, and that’s a pretty fair statement. The 2012 incarnation has the same basic premise, a killer dressed as Santa dispatches numerous folk, but aside from that it’s a new bag of gifts; this is a slick new slasher that I thought was rocking good time for the most part.

In 2012 there are no God-bothering Nuns and religious overtones, instead the action takes place in a small town that is in the midst of preparing for its annual Santa Parade (believe me, the jolly red bastard is everywhere). And then the killing begins, as one particularly large Santa, complete with cool mask, starts butchering his way through the naughty side of his naughty or nice list.

Now it is up to the town’s Sheriff and Deputy, played by Malcolm McDowell and Jaime King, to try and find the killer and put a stop to his wicked ways.

Miller is not trying to reinvent the wheel with Silent Night; far from it. Instead of creating a deadly serious horror flick, which he did very successfully with The Aggression Scale, he has injected Silent Night with a good dose of sly humor. Do not get me wrong though, this is a mean-spirited film as Santa dispatches his victims in all manner of gruesome ways. Even children aren’t safe from his wrath, and that’s bound to upset a few folk out there.

There are nods and winks to all manner of slasher movies, and the premise here is not in the slightest bit original; I mean we have seen the small town Sheriff’s Department deal with masked killers many times before. This is a film though that just wants you to roll with the fun; it’s a beer and pizza movie that invokes the spirit of the old-school slasher flick. It’s a slick production, with some cool effects and everything looks great.

As for the cast of Silent Night, you can tell that they are having a good time with the material. Well, except for maybe Jaime King’s character. Returning to slasher territory, after My Bloody Valentine 3D, King’s Deputy is a nervous and sullen character, who is dealing with past traumas and pressure from her family to succeed in her career and it is a convincing portrayal. To counteract the more serious nature of her character we have the complete opposite from McDowell’s Sheriff, who is a hoot and has all the best lines, and Donal (Grounded for Life) Logues as one of the town’s Santa’s.

It is McDowell who steals the show for me though, the delivery of his lines is deadly serious, yet they are laced with humor and you can tell he is having an absolute blast.

Silent Night is a slasher flick, so you will be expecting some cool kill scenes. Fear ye not, as there plenty here. They aren’t especially gory, but they are bloody and brutal, although one death in particular will require more than a couple of Advil to relieve this headache.

More often than not there is an immediate knee-jerk reaction whenever a film is remade; people will hate it just because it is a remake. Their minds are already made up, and nothing will change that. I am a fan of the 1984 film, and gave it a very positive review recently, but I also enjoyed the hell out of this film. It isn’t particularly original, as I mentioned, but by God was it damned good fun. Just as Darren Lynn Bousman gave us a terrific and brutal new version of Mother’s Day, so has Miller given us a thoroughly entertaining new version of this tale. Hell, I enjoyed this far more than certain other high profile modern day slasher films that are out there, of that you can be sure.

Some films are designed to be fun, the kind where you just kick back and enjoy the ride. This is one such film and I am already looking forward to the sequel, should they decide to make one.

Silent Night will play select theaters from November 30th and be released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and DVD on December 4th from Anchor Bay.

1 comment:

Maynard Morrissey said...

I'm still skeptical. I love the hell outta the original, but I just don't like the works of Steven C. Miller. Hope it's at least decent.