Being a huge fan of Silent Night, Deadly Night I lunged at the opportunity to review Silent Night. Until that point I actually wasnâ€™t even aware that there was a remake, although I wouldnâ€™t necessarily call this a remake as it is more of a loose reimagining of the classic holiday slasher film. It is genuine, wholesome fun for the whole family!
Seeing as it is already a Christmas tradition in the Brickley household, we decided to preface our viewing of Silent Night with the original Silent Night, Deadly Night (the Black Christmas movies will probably be coming soon). I have to say I was relatively impressed with this movie on a whole. While it wasnâ€™t reinventing the genre by any means, it was all-in-all a good slasher flick.
First and foremost, gone is the entire background story of the killer. As opposed to learning about the unfortunate fate of Billy Chapmanâ€™s parents, we know nothing about this masked killer (yes, he wears a mask). I like that. Donâ€™t get me wrong. I still love the 1984 classic, but Iâ€™m also glad I didnâ€™t have to watch an entire musical montage about the killerâ€™s pre-psychotic-collapse niceness, generosity and reliability. Our introduction to this killer is vastly different. We watch him fashion his mask somewhat reminiscent of Freddy fabricating his glove in the original Nightmare and thatâ€™s about it for introductions before the killing spree begins. Sometimes itâ€™s better to just have no emotional attachment to the killer in a movie. You donâ€™t really want them to possess much more than the most primal of human characteristics.
Itâ€™s not long before Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King, whose other remake credits include My Bloody Valentine and Motherâ€™s Day) and Sherriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell, if you need a list of his credits then you also need to get out more often) realize that not only do they have a killer on the loose, but this killer is dressed asâ€¦ you guessed it, Santa Claus. This usually wouldnâ€™t be a problem, so long as the movie happened in July. Unfortunately for these small-town officers (but not the viewer), this is happening in December, right around Christmas when thereâ€™s hundreds of other people dressed up as St. Nick. The race is on to find the one who isnâ€™t acting so jolly.
If youâ€™re not part of that 1% of people who scrutinize every last detail of every single horror movie that they see, you should be able to enjoy Silent Night. Personally, Iâ€™m glad that it wasnâ€™t titled the same as the original as has been done in the past for remakes that didnâ€™t fully stay on the rails with regard to their ancestry. Yes there are some minor tributes to the original (you heard nothing about antlers from me, shhh), but for the most part this is a relatively fresh idea. You still get all the hallmarks of a good slasher movie, just â€œre-giftedâ€ if you will: gratuitous nudity, sex, drug use, a senior cop who is kind of a dick yet still amusing, his subordinate who is smarter than he is, tongue-in-cheek humor, and of course gore. As a matter of fact, the gore in this movie was tremendously well done. Eyeballs do pop out of heads during electrocutions, there is more than one use for a wood chipper on a Christmas tree lot and sometimes bratty little kids get exactly what they deserve.
Toward the end of the movie more is revealed about the killerâ€™s motives. This works just fine for me in explaining only as much of the killerâ€™s back story as is absolutely necessary. While the original wants to get you inside of the killerâ€™s mind first and foremost (possibly to extricate empathy from the viewer?) and it completely works for that movie (albeit occasionally unintentionally laughable), Silent Night waits to give you that information until after youâ€™ve already passed your judgment on the killer. Again, movie killers having a human side can be a bit off-putting sometimes.
While I wouldnâ€™t call Silent Night a modern â€œChristmas miracleâ€ or even a giant leap forward for the movie industry by any means, I can say that it was thoroughly enjoyable and has fully earned itself a spot in our holiday movie tradition.
Happy Holidays to all of you horror freaks and to the rest of the staff at Horror New Network. Be safe.