Silent Night (2012) Review: Surprisingly Gritty Remake
“He Knows Who’s Been Naughty”
Synopsis: The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.
Watch now on Amazon
This sideways remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night tries to set itself apart from the generally campy class of holiday horror movies. The killer may be dressed in a Santa suit, but he is anything but jolly.
The opening is surprisingly gritty, slowly introducing us to the killer as he cleans himself up in an abandoned building… to the tune of Christmas carols and screams. Most of the film is surprisingly pretty – shots are often artistic and there’s a deliberate use of shadows and colored lighting that gives the whole movie a polished feel. Unfortunately, Silent Night can’t quite carry the mood throughout, and frequently devolves into something more akin to a basic slasher flick.
The movie follows Aubrey (Jaime King) as she and her fellow cops (bumbling Andrew Cecon and hilarious Malcolm McDowell) attempt to catch up with a spree killer on Christmas Eve. Refreshingly, Aubrey is allowed to be a flawed character – she’s not a bimbo awaiting slaughter or an action machine. She doubts that she’s cut out for policework, but toughs it out and follows her instincts anyway. Malcolm McDowell as her gruff boss provides an excellent foil to her realistic self-doubt; his rendition of the Sheriff is basically a character from a hardboiled detective novel. As an added bonus, we also get to see several horror alums: John B. Lowe, Tom Anniko, and Ali Tataryn all make an appearance, as well as a topless Cortney Palm.
The movie is interesting, but it would have been better served if the filmmakers had either gone with a fully serious interpretation or a completely ridiculous one. The gritty vibe and skeevy underbelly can’t really be laughed at… but it’s hard to take a movie seriously when it involves Santa with a flamethrower. Add in a lot of oddly generic slasher movie moments, and it’s hard to decide what to do with the movie. It also isn’t a direct enough remake to really be compared to the original, though there are a few story similarities and callbacks that veteran watchers may appreciate.
Silent Night is definitely not the worst of the Christmas horror subgenre, but its flaws keep it from being truly good. Still, the movie is pretty polished and includes both boobs and a fabulous end credit song – not a bad way to spend a December evening.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C+
Watch now on Amazon