|Review||Silent Night (2012)||Director||Steven C. Miller|
|Cast||Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, Courtney-Jane White and Brendon Fehr|
“You see Santa Claus tonight you better run boy!” – Grandpa
A maniac dressed as Santa Claus is picking off the citizens of the Midwestern town Cryer he deems as naughty. Sheriff Cooper (McDowell) is understaffed so he calls in Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (King) to work on Christmas Eve. Aubrey has a host of personal issues to deal with, not least the fact that this will be her first Christmas since her husband’s passing.
The town of Cryer is wholly snowless but the atmosphere of Christmas is everywhere. The townsquare is full of Saint Nicks but one of them is intent on painting the town red with the blood of those impure. And this sicko has plenty to choose from; a shady minister, ungrateful kids, soft core porn and drug peddlers, adulterous couples and nymphos. Then he also sets his sights on Cooper and Aubrey once they close in on him.
Not so much a remake of “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (1984) as it uses the idea of a killer Santa punishing the naughty as a springboard for the goings-on; this “Silent Night” nevertheless acknowledges the infamous slasher by incorporating the scenes with the catatonic grandpa telling his grandson to beware of Santa Claus and squeezing in the flick’s one iconic kill.
While the film is excessively brutal at times (and I mean Brutal!) it benefits greatly from a wholly sympathetic and interesting lead character that’s very well played by Jaime King. Not only is she dealing with a great personal loss at the most difficult time of year, she’s also having an identity crisis in her professional life and attempting to live up to (self-imposed) expectations in her difficult job because of her father (John B. Lowe) who’s a former cop. Her journey throughout the film is every bit as captivating as the gruesome kills and elevate this slasher quickie above most similar pretenders of late.
In addition to the extreme violence and the interesting plight of it’s lead character; “Silent Night” also has a wonderful performance by the terrific McDowell who finds just the right balance between a little bit of camp while keeping with the film’s grim tone. Spewing lines like; “this maniac’s gonna wish he never set foot in my town” and “never bring a flame thrower to a gunfight”; McDowell is at the top of his game here and creates a memorable character. In fact all the cast is in fine form and keep their characters believable (the minister…just) and that’s a huge plus.
And speaking of the violence here; it’s really quite something. A kid gets skewered, a nearly naked girl is thrown in a wood chipper (after her amputated leg) and a guy gets a knife in the face is among the treats the film serves up as it details the reign of terror this Santa brings to Cryer. It’s fairly nauseating but extremely effective and gore hounds will not be let down by what’s offered up here. The fact that the film offers up interesting lead characters and a good core story full of solid performances to go along with the gory stuff makes this “Silent Night” a keeper and mandatory festive viewing at my household.
Every year I revisit a few Christmas flicks that spotlight the dark side of the festive season; among them “Black Christmas” (1974) – the best one, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (1984) – sleazy and cheesy but fun, “To All a Goodnight” (1980) – sooo bad it’s actually very enjoyable, “A Christmas Horror Story (2015) – a surprisingly good anthology horror, “Christmas Evil” (1980) – the definition of a cult-Christmas flick with a downbeat message and finally “Silent Night”.