HORROR REVIEW: Silent Night (2012)
A murderer dressed as Santa is on the loose and he is punishing anyone who is naughty. Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm MacDowell) and Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King) are on the case to find out who the murderer is and to put a stop to his acts.
I can start my review off by complaining about remakes, but it’s all been said before. It’s boring and old now. Silent Night, Deadly Night has become a bit of a cult classic, but in my opinion isn’t an untouchable masterpiece. It’s a cheesy fun film, but nothing great. This remake took the initial plot of a killer dressed as Santa and ran with it in it’s own direction, and I thought that was the best thing it could do.
Remake or not, this was one FUN slasher film! Slasher movies are my favorite kind of movies out there, and also my biggest weakness. Sometimes, I can still have fun with the worst slasher films…sometimes. But this movie thankfully has a smart script with great dialogue and good characters. In a movie like this, no one needs well-written characters. I’d settle for some likable characters I can root for. Thankfully that is where our heroine Aubrey Bradimore comes in. She was likable, developed (for a slasher film character at least) and very easy to root for. Most of the other characters were honestly there to add to the body count. Nothing wrong with that…and oh did they die in glorious ways! This movie was full of inventive and GORY death scenes, mostly done with practical effects…Hallelujah! Honestly the gore was the best part and you should go in not knowing the deaths, because some of the deaths are nice surprises. I’ll give you one hint: a wood chipper is put to mighty fine use. The film also has one AWESOME chase scene (yes, with the nude girl. Straight men will love it) early one and was probably the most suspenseful scene in the film.
I must hand it to director Steven C. Miller. He really crafted a bloody fun movie. His camera angles were cool and he had a great use of colors, especially in the end. I thought his use of the colors of red and green were pretty smart (get it, Christmas colors!) and actually for a second brought old-time Argento to mind (back when he was good). The script, while simple (nothing wrong with simple…sometimes simple is way better), was pretty well done. I really got behind the lead girl and felt her plight, plus the dialogue was a plus. This film had some great lines and even a couple nifty monologues. The tone was pitch black, but never completely serious. Miller knew how to straddle the line of campy and serious, but never lost the fun.
Thankfully to back up the fine script and direction, the film also had a great cast as well. Jaime King made for a very likable lead girl. King is a great actress and shows a lot of love to the horror genre. She has become a bit of a favourite of mine and is really becoming a modern scream queen. Malcolm MacDowell played a cocky bastard and he REALLY had fun with the role and I had fun watching him. I must also give a shout out to Ellen Wong and Donal Logue. Logue is a great actor and never gets enough credit. He took a small role and gave it his all. Wong impressed me in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and I was very happy to see her in this film again. She was likable and I wish she had more to do. She was good in her limited screen time. The score was also mostly on the ball. Sometimes it would get a bit generic, but most of the time it worked. I liked how it incorporated Christmas music into the score. Nice! The touch of Christmas music along with the vicious kills really made for a great juxtaposition.
Granted the film isn’t exactly perfect. I don’t think the murder mystery was really utilized to the fullest. I was never involved as much as I could have been. There were the usual red herrings, but I was never really trying to guess who the killer was. With a Santa parade going on, I think the movie could have done more with the mystery angle since the killer is wearing a Santa costume…and I must say the ending reveal was also disappointing. I wish the final fight lasted longer and the film had a habit of going the shaky cam way, which I’m not a fan of. Some of the editing was too tight as well…but for me my biggest problem with the film is that it just wasn’t very scary. The movie was campy gory fun, but it wasn’t actually scary. I would have relished from more suspense in the film. There was one scene that did have me on the edge of my seat, but a couple more suspense sequences would have really added to an already awesome film. I also wish we got to see Ellen Wong’s chase scene (I feel that it was awesome), but we got to see a small part of it. I can’t be too greedy.
But we still got a good old-fashioned, brutal slasher flick that had a fun 80’s vibe to it! I could see myself watching this movie back-to-back with My Bloody Valentine 3D (ironically another slasher remake starring Jaime King as the final girl) and having a good time! Sit back, watch Silent Night, and just have a good time! It’s that kind of movie.