Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming DVD Review
Directed by James Plumb
Written by James Plumb and Andrew Jones
2013, Region 2 (PAL), 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 21st October 2013
Adrienne King as The Stranger (voice)
Sabrina Dickens as Marianne Butler
Sule Rimi as Ben
Richard Goss as Doctor Peter Chandler
Lee Bane as Dr. Gershuny (voice)
Kathy Saxondale as Marie Butler (archive footage)
Plastic bags over the head, garrotted with Christmas lights, obscene telephone calls and a madman with an axe... this is a horror film that so desperately wants to be Black Christmas that it's actually rather sad. And don't get me started on the Shaun of the Dead 'Got Wood' t-shirt one of the characters wears. Low-budget filmmakers take note: you can reference the greats all you like, but there's a fine line between homage and rip-off.
Firmly on the wrong side of that line is Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming, a cheap, disgraceful British knock-off of Black Christmas and remake of Theodore Gershuny's (fairly naff) Silent Night, Bloody Night. From escaped mental patients to dusty old mansions and randy interlopers cheekily breaking onto the premises for a bit of sex, The Homecoming is full of cliché and repetition of scenes and kill sequences you've seen done better many times before. It adds insult to injury with its clumsy, obvious Texas Chain Saw Massacre style dinner table scene.
Opening with the old mental hospital escape gambit, The Homecoming uneshamedly unashamedly starts as it means to go on. After troubled Wilfred Butler commits suicide, his country estate is left to grandson Jeffrey, who plans to sell on the house. What no-one counts on is the axe-wielding maniac who has set up home in the basement. With a steady supply of interlopers breaking into the property, there's no shortage of blood to splash up the walls or copulating backs to hack. The Homecoming isn't stingy with the kill sequences, but almost everything else is subpar nonsense. Admittedly, there's only so much one can do with a low budget and lack of real talent. Director James Plumb does manage to imbue the film with a weird, creepy atmosphere, but it's spoiled by the predictable story, terrible acting and bad gore effects. A scene in which the killer despatches one poor unfortunate with a chair succeeds only in eliciting a laugh – and not even the good kind, while the rest of the blood and guts generally consists of blood being thrown at the wall while characters are murdered off-screen. Tip: Steven C. Miller's Silent Night remake is also out now, and features some very similar death sequences. If you must watch only one Christmas based horror film this year, please, make sure it's that one.
As the first festive horror feature I have watched this year, The Homecoming is a complete disappointment. Cheap, ugly and the wrong kind of nasty, it certainly won't be coming home to my DVD player any time soon. At least you can threaten the misbehaving horror fan with it, for fear of it ending up beneath their Christmas tree come December 25th. “Dull is underrated,” says one of the characters. No, it really isn't.
Video and Audio:
There's nothing wrong with a cheaply-shot film, but the amateurish actors, uninspired script and boring story serve only to exacerbate the problem. If I hear another piano version of 'Silent Night', I might just have a bloody axe rampage myself. The punk version of the song isn't bad, though.
A commentary track from James Plumb and producer Andrew Jones.