Silent Night DVD Review
Directed by Steven C. Miller
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 94 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 11th November 2013
Malcolm McDowell as Sheriff Cooper
Jaime King as Aubrey Bradimore
Donal Logue as Santa Jim
Rick Skene as Ronald Jones Jr./Ronald Jones Sr.
Ellen Wong as Brenda
Andrew Cecon as Deputy Giles
Charles E. Sellier Jr's Silent Night, Deadly Night is my favourite Christmas horror film of all time, beaten only by Batman Returns and Bad Santa as my absolute festive favourite, irrespective of genre. That said, I'm more forgiving than most when it comes to remakes (make as many as you like – it'll never stop the original from existing) so I was eager to see Steven C. Miller's 2012 version of the film. After over a year of waiting, it finally arrives on UK DVD. I've been ever so good this year, Santa, please don't let this one suck.
From its casting to its killer, location and holiday setting, Silent Night could be the perfect spiritual sequel to 2009's My Bloody Valentine remake. In a small Midwestern American town, a serial killer starts hacking up the many citizens on his naughty list. It's up to sympathetic cop Aubrey (Jaime King – who was also in My Bloody Valentine) to put a stop to the killer's antics before it's too late. She shouldn't go expecting much help from Sheriff Malcolm McDowell though – he's as useless in this as he was the Halloween remake and its sequel.
While the film may not be treading much new ground here, Silent Night is tremendous fun. I'm a sucker for a good Christmas horror film, and this is among the most entertaining I've ever seen. Six-foot tall Bad Santa stomps around the town putting a variety of increasingly entertaining weapons to very good use, hacking, slashing and disembowelling his way through the little town. There's even, as the cover art suggests, some flamethrower action. The film overdoes it a little in depicting Santa's victims as worthy of death (the pervert priest and little girl are particularly unsubtle) but it's great fun otherwise. Bedecked in his Santa outfit, inexpressive plastic mask and flamethrower, he's oddly reminiscent of a Doctor Who villain, but has a delightful mean streak and plenty of panache. He's basically Jason Voorhees dressed up like Father Christmas.
Malcolm McDowell doesn't seem to be having quite so much fun as the town Sheriff, once again phoning it in for a role which is all too similar to many he's played in recent years. Still, for all his relative indifference, he brings a sense of respectability to the film and, of course, his great timbre. The role also has him shouting the spectacularly odd line “you don't put avocado on the burger!” which you'd have to be especially joyless not to enjoy. Although I have had avocado on a burger before, and it was tasty. Sorry to undermine you there, Sheriff. Playing Aubrey, King is likeable and sympathetic as ever, and is backed up by plenty of young and pretty faces (plus Donal Logue) to die around her.
And die they do, in fantastic style. There are the old favourites – suffocated in plastic, strangled with Christmas lights – but the selection box offers a few originals too. My personal favourite was the woodchipper sequence, but there should be something to suit most tastes. It's nothing like the original film (save for a repeat of the crazy old man in the nursing home scene, and a variation on the infamous 'garbage day' line) but then, it never really needed to be. It's a film about a murderous Santa stomping around a small town chopping folk up. It's just what I wanted for Christmas. Garbage day? Silent Night should cheer you right up.
Video and Audio:
It looks respectable, although it does get a bit too dark and filtered towards the end. Sounds good too, finishing with a heavy metal version of 'Silent Night' that I couldn't resist rocking out to.
There are no special features included on this disc.