Runtime: 94 minutes
Release Date: November 30, 2012
Director: Steven C. Miller
“Silent Night” opens with a young man strapped to a chair with Christmas lights and a murderous Santa standing nearby. As he begs the man to let him go, we quickly learn that he was having an affair with a married woman and that Santa does not like cheaters. Once he electrocutes the man, which leads to his eyeballs popping out, I quickly get over my crush on Brendan Fehr (“Christina's House”) and Santa moves on to his next victim.
Sheriff James Cooper (Malcolm McDowell, “Halloween”) hates everything about his small town, which hosts a massive Christmas celebration. His deputy Audrey (Jaime King, “My Bloody Valentine”) lost her husband a year ago and isn't too happy about celebrating, but she frequently gets annoyed when the sheriff takes over for her. He's just excited that he finally gets to do something.
Since the town hosts one of the biggest Santa costume contests in the world, our killer gets to roam around town and no one takes a second look. Audrey and Cooper discover that Santa is killing people who made his naughty list, and they target Jim Epstein (Donal Logue, “Shark Night”), a traveling Santa who delights in telling kids the truth. Despite bringing him in for questioning, the real Santa is still out there.
I was one of those annoying people who got up in arms when they announced plans to remake “Silent Night, Deadly Night.” Luckily, this film has almost nothing in common with the original. Is it the worst horror movie ever made? No. Is it the best horror film ever made? Not at all.
While it isn't a fantastic movie, it's far better than some of the other remakes that we've seen in recent years. The top star of the film, no matter what the poster says, is Logue. I have loved him since “The Tao of Steve” and “Grounded for Life,” and I love him even more after “Silent Night.” He only appears in a few scenes, but those scenes are worth every penny. When he told one kid that he would bring him everything on his list and if they weren't there on Christmas Day, it meant that his parents sold the gifts on eBay, I almost bust a gut.
Then there are the kill scenes, which are much better than most horror movies. One particularly bratty tween tells her mother, “fuck Christmas,” which leads to Santa pulling a hammer from his bag of treats. Then there's the naked woman tossed in a wood chipper and the daughter of the mayor and her boyfriend who Santa interrupts in the bedroom.
My main problem in the film is King. I know that some people really like her, but I find her a pretty terrible actress. She almost always has a vacant look in her eyes, and when she needs to take a stand, it seems unbelievable. McDowell is far better, playing every scene like he's in an Oscar-nominated movie. One of my favorite movie lines is now, “don't put avocado on the burger,” which is why he tells Audrey when explaining that the simplest explanation is usually the best. “Silent Night” probably won't make any top 10 lists at the end of the year, but it might just become one of those films I pull out during the holidays.