In Silent Night, a small, midwestern town Sheriff discovers that a vigilante maniac in a Santa suit has set off on a murder spree. The madman is killing off the residents of the town that he deems ill disciplined. As the maniac slices his way through the naughty list, the Sherriff and his deputy desperately try to learn the identity of the killer. The duo attempts to piece the clues together track down the killer before they find themselves on the business end of a flamethrower.
Silent Night is directed by Steven C. Miller (The Aggression Scale) and written by Jayson Rothwell (Malice in Wonderland). It sets itself apart from the pack of unnecessary remakes by only very loosely following the original film. It takes the premise of a killer Santa Claus and abandons almost every other aspect of the original Silent Night, Deadly Night film. Rothwell’s decision not to adhere to the plot line of the original is what makes this reboot worthwhile. The screenplay proves to be fairly unpredictable. It is rarely obvious who is going to live or die and the order in which the characters are killed is rarely apparent in advance.
Steven C. Miller is an up and coming director that is making his mark on the genre film arena. Miller has shown that he has a wicked sense of humor with some of his previous films and Silent Night further showcases his dark wit and macabre sense of humor. Miller works with his performers to bring the clever dialogue from Rothwell’s script to life in a way that will be quite amusing to the film’s target audience.
Miller is known to be a champion of practical effects and he relies almost entirely on practical makeup in this 2012 holiday horror-comedy. The kills are completely brutal and leave very little to the imagination. Miller works with his FX team to make the most of the film’s budget and pull off some very memorable and highly inventive kill scenes. The killer employs the use of several unconventional and decidedly imaginative weapons. Watching the onscreen deaths unfold proves to be a lot of fun.
The cast of Silent Night is smartly chosen. Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) is brilliant as the self-assured midwestern Sheriff. And Jaime King (Mother’s Day 2010) is terrific as his humble deputy. The pair riffs on one another and demonstrates great comedic rhythm. Donal Logue (Blade) is also fantastic as the town’s disenchanted and terribly disgruntled Santa Claus. His lines are expertly delivered and always off color.
Silent Night is one of the most shocking and unrelenting holiday horror films I’ve seen. It brutally kills off a character that cannot be more than 13 years old, which is fairly unprecedented. It also follows an adult film star as she is chased through the streets naked and then fed into a wood chipper. Amazingly, all of that occurs before the flick has really even gotten started. Miller clearly has no shame and is intent upon upping the ante for what one can get away with in a holiday horror title. His film is quite possibly even more reprehensible than its predecessor. He works with what proved shocking in the 1984 original and plays off of that for maximum shock value.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out this brutal and simultaneously hilarious holiday horror film, it is well worth looking into. The death scenes are intense and imaginative. The script is humorous, the direction is on point, and the cast has effective onscreen chemistry. Silent Night is on DVD and Blu-Ray now. The Anchor Bay home video release is not exactly rich with special features. But it does offer a featurette and a couple of deleted scenes.