Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Silent Night (2012)

Confession time: I'm not what you would call a big fan of the movie "Silent Night, Deadly Night." Apart from it's "Killer dressed as Santa" gimmick, the controversy it gained, and a memorable kill involving antlers, I've always found it to be a somewhat forgettable 80's slasher. So, when it was announced that Steven C. Miller was going to direct a remake, I wasn't exactly upset. In fact, after the surprise home run that was "The Aggression Scale", I started to show interest in it. The end result is...actually not that bad, though I couldn't help but feel that it could have been better.

This Santa will "sleigh" ya! Get it? Yeah, I hate myself after that one too.

"Silent Night" opens with the killer putting on his Santa costume, making a mask, and getting right to work. By that, I mean killing a guy via electrocution. Cut Aubrey Bradimore, who is getting ready for her new job in the police force. Joined by the perpetually bored Brenda (Ellen Wong, who you may remember as Knives Chou in "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"), the obnoxious Deputy Jordan (Brendan Fehr) and Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell), she soon finds herself hot on the trail of the killer Santa, who seems to have a pattern that goes beyond people being naughty or nice.

When you get down to it, this is really a remake in name only. Instead of focusing on a man's downward spiral, what we get instead is a pretty straightforward slasher movie. On the plus side, the cast is pretty game throughout. McDowell chews scenery (well, yeah) and is clearly having fun, while King makes for a sympathetic protagonist. Donal Logue however, ends up stealing the show as a foul mouthed, total asshole who just happens to be a town Santa. Speaking of which, the movie is actually pretty funny at times, which helps quite a bit. Much of this has to do with the colorful supporting cast, and the movie is smart enough not to make the killer an anti-hero while also making most of his victims unsympathetic. Oh, and if you want good kills, this sucker has tons of them. Heads a split open, people are torched alive, fed to mulch machines and so much more. 

At the same time, this is still a flawed movie. For one thing, I found the random shout outs to the other films to be a bit awkward. Normally I don't mind this, but scenes such as a recreation of Linnea Quigly's death in the original actually fall flat, and almost left me wanting to see the original again to compare the two. It also occasionally falls victim to a lot of modern editing techniques as well. Fortunately, this doesn't happen often, but the occasional quick cut and shaky cam sequences that pop up kinda hurt the momentum a but. Finally, the reveal of the killer at the end is kind of lame. You can't help but wonder if writer Jayson Rothwell had no idea how to end it, and just pulled something randomly out of his hat.

As a whole, I can say I liked "Silent Night" more than I thought I would. I'm sure fans of the original, and slasher fans in general will probably get a kick out of it, even though I don't think it will end up in the cavalcade of classic Holiday themed horror films.

Rating: 6/10

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