Just in time for the holidays! We have yet another holiday slasher remake starring the one and only Jamie King. This time it's the loose remake of the 1984 slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night. Here's a little backstory on the original: It caused a huge controversy for featuring a killer Santa Claus. I laugh at the fact that no matter how much sex and violence we saw on TV back then, the parents would rather waste their time on a slasher about a Killer Santa. By the way, Its a horror movie TRAILER featuring a GUY dressed up as Santa Claus. That wouldn't make him actually Santa Claus, right? Anywho, the movie became a cult classic with most notably having a hot male lead. The final results are mediocre at best. It's an above average slasher with some interesting elements. It actually takes the time of developing the villain instead the victims. The rest of the movie, though, becomes a typical by-the-numbers slasher with the main villain going on a killing spree and the film just fades into obscurity from there.
So twenty-eight years later, Silent Night, which is a movie of it's own instead of an all and out remake. The only connection to the original movies (Yes, I said movies, not very good movies by the way) is references like the garbage day joke and a certain death scene involving antlers. My thoughts about this movie seems to be mixed. If it had the chance to take itself less seriously, I would've enjoyed it more. Don't get me wrong, it is watchable enough movie but half of the time I felt, well, bored. It's just as tedious as the original having a deranged Santa Claus going a killing spree. There is a story here somewhere but everything just falls flat by the end of the movie.
The Story: A deranged man dressed in a Santa costume wreaks havoc on a small town. It's up to Sheriff Cooper and Deputy Bradimore to stop his rampage just before completing his naughty list.
The cast really didn't grow on me. Jamie King was as good as always but her character came off bland to me. But then there's Malcolm McDowell and Donal Louge who pretty much stole the show with their over-the-top performances. The rest of the cast are, unfortunately, a bunch of miserable, selfish jerks who meet their maker. And there not much to go from there.
I like Jamie King as an actress and I thinks she deserve much better than this script because I really wasn't invested in her character of Aubrey Bradimore. I guess she supposed to be the audience surrogate, seeing how crappy her hometown has been, becoming one of the few sane people but it doesn't develop her character in anyway. The thing with her backstory is that her husband was killed in a line of duty and is still affected by it/
There's also a twist as well. Her father was the one who shot the killer's dad while he went crazy one night, blowtorching guests at a Christmas party. This all happens in front of the killer as a little boy, no less, which is the catalyst for his rampage.
Other than that, the character is a total bore. Yes, I said it, she is quite boring and interesting for the majority of the movie. She does have some moments of badassery but that doesn't happen until the end. She just a stick in the mud basically but at least Jamie King is a good enough actress to carry the role through, so no problems there.
Malcolm McDowell as Sheriff Cooper was a riot. Although he usually good at playing villainous roles, Malcolm McDowell is a versatile actor like his noble good guy role in Time After Time but he fits right at home playing a grumpy old asshole like in this movie. We never know if Sheriff Cooper is a truly competent, the film doesn't take the time to show that but what we do know of him is that he is a bitter, snarky man, who pretty much hates some of the people in his small town and rightfully so, though I'll get to that later. You would think that he would be a total badass in an all-out battle with the serial killer but no he is easily overpowered and receives the sharp end of the candy cane.
Donal Louge was equally hilarious as the resident town drunk. What could be just a small role is turned into a character of it's own. Donal Louge chews each scenery that he's in, including giving out this overly long monologue about how much he hates Christmas.
The rest of the movie might drag on most of the time, but Malcolm McDowell and Donal Louge carry it through with their hilariously crude performances.
The so-called "victims" include a guy who had an affair with a married woman, a predatory priest, a bratty twelve year old girl, the typical horny teen couple with the guy stealing his grandpa's money to spend time with girlfriend, a drug dealer, and a self-absorbed wanna-be model and her sleazy photographer. So yeah, these are not pleasant characters and I think that's the point of the film, seeing how these miserable degenerates spend Christmas only to see their comeuppance by the killer Santa Claus.
Speaking of Killer Santa, he had a cool look to him. Now I know the whole slasher movie Santa costume is not original but it's the aesthetic of the costume that I like.
The darkened eyes on the mask gives out a menacing look and the tall, imposing stature of the actor gives him an intimidating edge. And since he is based on real life serial killer Jeffery Pardo, he gets a blowtorch as his signature horror weapon. The killer's backstory is probably the most interesting thing about this movie because it's, of course, ripped from the headlines. But I wish the filmmakers went deep into this keep my interest.
The deaths scenes are extremely gory and over-the-top, to the point of being a bit cartoony but again, I think that's the gist of the film, given how obnoxious the characters are you would expect them to receive such deaths.
Let me get this off my chest, though, we have yet another scene of a naked woman being chased by a serial killer with close-ups of her derriere. Do guys have some sick fetish of this, I just don't understand. I really don't see why it's tantalizing to see a woman terrorized in the nude.
Not to mention getting a incredibly horrible death. Again, it puts a bad taste in my mouth.
I can't say if there was any suspenseful scenes but the climax, I thought, was handled well. At least, I'll give the film more credit for that.
I guess the directing was alright. You do have an occasional shaky cam, disoriented edit shots, and darkened areas where you don't see anything but for the most part it's okay. The director really isn't all that great. He had a certain potential but it never branches out. From what I know, his other films are not exactly high quality, so I think a more experienced professional director would've handled the movie much better. You just don't get the vibrant visual of Christmas with this directing.
the final case in this is that it's a mixed bag. Sure, the 1984 film needed a remake, however, there could've been ways to show this dark tale of the serial killer becoming who he is in a better way instead of some Joe Schmoe killing a bunch of randys on a Christmas holiday.
The Verdict? Both films seem to be forgettable and mediocre, not telling a proper story for me to be invested in. Both films seem to have enough potential but fail becoming typical by-the-numbers slasher films. So my thoughts end there.
My last word: It's a watchable enough film but in the end, it's not going to be highly remembered.