Anchor Bay // 2012 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // December 7th, 2012
The worst "slay" ride you'll ever take!
Welcome to the town of Cryer, Wisconsin; population 2,000...and dropping. While the townsfolk prepare for the holiday season, a psychopathic madman is making out his naughty and nice list with a pen, paper, and a very sharp axe! Recently widowed cop Aubrey Bradimore (Jamie King, My Bloody Valentine 3D) is trudging through her grief-stricken holidays with a grumpy boss, Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange), when they receive a call about some mutilated bodies that turn out to be the work of a serial killer. The bad news: the killer is dressed as Santa Claus, in a town full of men dressed as Santa, which may make catching this lunatic next to impossible! As the crazed St. Nick slashes and hacks his way through the citizens of Cryer, Aubrey realizes this crazed Kringle won't stop unless she faces her fears and puts the kibosh on his spree of death and destruction!
Anyone who knows me is well aware that I love a good horror movie. Slashers, monsters, psychos, killer furniture (have you seen The Mangler? It's awesome!)...I'm a sucker for a fun scary movie. However, over the years I've learned there is one exception to this rule -- Christmas horror movies. I've never warmed to the idea of taking something as sacred as Christmas and turning it into a bloodbath of mayhem and murder. For some reason, Hollywood has decided to create an entire sub-genre of horror flicks based on the Christmas holiday season: Bob Clark's original Black Christmas and its 2006 remake, Santa's Slay, Jack Frost, Christmas Evil...heck, even Joe Dante's big budget Gremlins takes place during the week of Christmas. Most of these cinematic experiences have left a bad taste in my mouth, and Silent Night is one more voice in that choir.
Horror buffs are well aware that Silent Night is a remake of the 1984's Silent Night, Deadly Night, a movie that gained notoriety not because of its quality but because so many people were disgusted at its very existence. Since the relative success of Marcus Nispel's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot in 2003, Hollywood has been on a rampage to reinvent every horror movie ever made, and by this point they are clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel. I didn't think it could get much worse than Steven Monroe's I Spit on Your Grave -- a movie so clearly unnecessary that touching the Blu-ray case may cause you spontaneously combust -- and yet, here we are. Silent Night makes I Spit on Your Grave look like My Little Pony: The Movie. The blood flows like curdled eggnog throughout this tasteless derivative gore fest, defecating on the Christmas holiday with the force of a category five hurricane.
Although the production values are exponentially higher than Silent Night, Deadly Night, it's as equally tasteless. The acting is only a notch better with Jamie King offering up a decent performance as a cop in mourning, while Malcolm McDowell phones in his performance playing what is essentially a grizzled version of his Dr. Loomis in those two horrible Halloween remakes. Director Steven C. Miller (Automation Transfusion) infuses his film with a sense of dread, which is great for those who like their Christmases filled with pain and horror. I can easily pinpoint where Silent Night finally lost me. During an especially sleazy scene, our killer Claus bursts into a porno shoot, chasing a topless woman out into a Christmas tree farm where he proceeds to chop off her foot, pick her up, and slowly push her into a conveniently placed wood chipper. The editing here is not subtle, producing a scene as graphic and disgusting as it sounds. I am perfectly okay with violence in movies, when it's executed in context with panache. Silent Night is nothing more than a gory geek show, leaving the viewer feeling icky and unpleasant.
Presented in 2.40:1/1080p high definition widescreen, the film's low budget origins are rather obvious, but the transfer is clean without any defects or imperfections marring the image. The TrueHD 5.1 Surround mix certainly gets the job done, with a lot of squishy, crunching sound effects heard as Santa's victims are dispatched. Also included are English SDH and Spanish subtitles, for those who prefer to watch their horror without sound. Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette giving us access to a few scenes being filmed, five minutes of deleted scenes, and a standard def DVD copy of the film.
Like visiting an insane asylum during this most wonderful time of the year, Silent Night is a training video for the mentally disturbed that eschews fun for misery. It's violent, messy, and just plain ugly, existing only to upset people who like keeping the magic and goodness of the Christmas holiday. You've been warned.
Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* DVD Copy