31 Days of Reviews: Silent Night (2012)

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town, the naughty were punished by a man dressed as Santa Claus.

Silent Night is a 2012 horror film, directed by Steven C. Miller. I was unaware of this while watching, but it is apparently a loose remake of the 1984 film Silent Night, Deadly Night, directed by Charles E. Sellier. It stars Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, and Ellen Wong. It was distributed by Anchor Bay, where it received a limited theatrical release before being released in time for Christmas 2012.

Set in a small town in Wisconsin, Silent Night follows a small town deputy, as her town is plagued by the murders of an apparent serial killer. A limited amount of evidence points in the direction of a killer dressed as Santa, but on Christmas Eve, people dressed as Santa are a dime a dozen.

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It will be important to note that Silent Night is a gory slasher. It definitely doesn’t shy away from scenes of gratuitous, gory mayhem. One scene that sticks out to me in particular involves a wood chipper. That one had me groaning for a long, long while. Some viewers will also be overjoyed by the use of a flamethrower. That sort of weapon really doesn’t show up often in movies of this genre.

While the overall idea of Silent Night is interesting, and I’m sure a lot of this has to do with its source material (which I’ve never seen), there were definitely moments in the movie that had me confused. As a viewer, you can establish pretty early on that this evil Santa is punishing those who have been naughty. Once that conclusion is made, you can see many of the deaths coming a mile away, and sometimes you root for Santa.

At other points, I found myself wondering why certain deaths were occurring. The characters hadn’t done anything bad from what we’ve seen, and in the moment, I was taken aback. That confusion took me out of the movie, which is somewhat unfortunate because it is eventually explained in the end.

The writing and acting within Silent Night is really nothing spectacular. By writing, I really mean the dialogue isn’t the best. Some of the lines are kind of cringe worthy. Malcolm McDowell has some really odd lines that manage to be funny because McDowell is saying them. Silent Night uses a lot of dark humor, and not everyone likes that.

Be aware. Horror films always punish people for having sex, and Silent Night doesn’t stray away from this formula. This movie does have nudity and sexual situations. There’s about 5-7 minutes with a topless woman. I was surprised it lasted that long. If for some reason, you were thinking about watching a movie about a deranged, killer Santa with your children, just be aware.

Despite sitting around 90 minutes in length, the movie felt like it dragged to me. This could entirely be due to the fact that gory slashers aren’t really my type of movie. From most of the reviews I’ve seen, Silent Night has above average ratings.

If you look at critics who normally look at horror films, the reviews for Silent Night are pretty positive overall, and I think this has to do with the thrills, gory mayhem, and overall concept. If you take it for what it’s worth, Silent Night accomplishes the tasks it set out to do. It’s fun. I can definitely say that about it.

Silent Night had me both laughing and groaning, and at some points, it actually gave me a shock. It might not be the best movie ever, but it appears to be a pretty good adaptation, and if you’re looking for a bit of horror to carry you into the holiday season, Silent Night might be something you want to check out.

You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.

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