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December 21, 2014

Movie Review: Silent Night (2012, Anchor Bay)

The Silent Night, Deadly Night series has been a pretty formidable franchise since the first movie debuted in 1984. The series has never been quite near the Halloween or the Friday the 13th series in box office receipts as most sequels went straight to video - but the killer Santa flicks accumulated a fan base worldwide. Naturally a remake was going to happen. Sure there are some good remakes but many of us horror geeks (especially over 30) hold our noses at the thought our movie’s legacies being tarnished. Director Steven C. Miller ( The Aggression Scale) and writer Jayson Rothwell take the challenge with their re-imagining Silent Night.

It's Christmas Eve and bodies seem to be piling up all over for a small town in Wisconsin. This maniac has certain targets in mind - fornicators, snotty kids, pornographers and lecherous priests are at the top of his list. Finding out just who is behind these brutal killings is up to a young officer named Audrey Bradimore (Jaime King, My Bloody Valentine and Mother's Day remakes). With the help of Sheriff Cooper (played by the incomparable, Malcolm McDowell) the duo scope out the town so the killer Santa Claus doesn't slaughter anymore victims.

The splatter flys at you in buckets during Silent Night; so much so, I'm surprised it got an R-Rating. I ain't complaining. Silent Night is very much a body-count slasher flick – complete with some memorable kills that try to top the last. For me, this was a welcome departure from the original film's concentration on the abuse of the lead character who later becomes the psychotic St. Nick. The FX are thankfully not reliant on computers Very little CGI is used, so expect some good ol' fashion blood and guts.

The look of Silent Night is another strong point - there's a heavy concentration on colors in some sequences that add so much to particular scenes. The finale is an absolute hoot and really will keep you in the Christmas spirit. Between Cinematographer Joseph White and Miller’s touch, viewers should be pleased at how sharp the movie is visually. At times I felt like was watching an Argento film with the smooth transition of colors. Very cool stuff! Veteran horror FX artist, Vincent Guastini (Dogma, Thinner) and crew also deserve credit for making some very impressive grue.

The acting is appropriate and pretty solid for a genre flick. Donal Logue contributes some of the comic relief as an asshole Santa (who not so surprisingly is one of our red herrings). Rothwell’s script oozes plenty to the black humor and even hits back on the original with a few scenes that are really more nods for the fans. Silent Night was definitely created by a fan with love for the original.

Anchor Bay has put together a few extras for the release that include some deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes. The deleted scenes are mainly exposition and not terribly interesting but the behind-the-scenes are fun. You get to see some of the make-up FX as well as Miller about the set doing his thing.

Amazingly, Silent Night is an improvement on the classic film and easily the biggest horror surprise of 2012. Silent Night will no doubt make my top horror films list for this year. I really didn't expect much going in so that made this goofy, gory and nasty sleigh-ride all the more rewarding when the final credits rolled. Highly Recommended!

Wanna hear more on Silent Night? Here's our Holiday horror themed podcast featuring Silent Night, the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise, Elves, Santa Claws, Gremlins and more! Silent But Deadly Night.

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