Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!
silent night deadly night 3: better watch out! | sequel | silent night deadly night | monte hellman | rex weiner | samantha scully | bill moseley | richard c. adams | slasher | supernatural | psychic | united states | richard beymer | eric dare | laura harring
Film: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!
Director: Monte Hellman
Writer: Rex Weiner
Starring: Samantha Scully, Bill Moseley and Richard C. Adams
This is a movie that I didn’t know existed until I worked at Family Video. They oddly had a few of the flicks from the series in the 2 for $1 section and I was surprised. I hadn’t seen the original at that point. The 22 Shots of Moodz and Horror did cover the whole franchise, if memory serves, along with Shock Waves podcast discussing at least this movie. Jake and I decided to cover it over on Side Quest Podcast as well. The synopsis is the comatose Ricky Caldwell (Bill Moseley) reawakens and begins to stalk a blind woman, with whom he shares a psychic connection.
For this movie, we start with Laura (Samantha Scully) sleeping. She is in a white room. She hears someone whispering her name. We then see a man in bed. This is Ricky and he has an odd thing covering his exposed brain. He wakes up and comes after her. He cuts her with a scalpel. We also see images of Santa Claus.
Laura then wakes from her nightmare. This is the reason the last sequence was as surreal as it is. Dr. Newbury (Richard Beymer) is doing an experiment. Laura has psychic abilities. I’m guessing this was developed as she is the blind woman from the synopsis. Dr. Newbury and his assistant believe she has contacted Ricky, who was the Santa Claus killer from the earlier movie. He’s been in a coma since the events there. Laura doesn’t want to continue with the study. She tells this to the doctor, who gaslights her to return. She reveals she is going to see her grandmothers for Christmas. He asks her to think it over before deciding. It should also be pointed out; in these dreams Laura can see.
She goes out to ask the receptionist to see if her brother is there. The woman is rude to her, but Laura gets an image of her dead. This gives her solace and was also quite odd. Laura falls asleep on a bench until her brother arrives. Laura has another nightmare here. Her brother, Chris (Eric DaRe), then shows up and takes Laura to see her psychiatrist. She has another flash of Ricky here. After this appointment, Chris introduces Laura to his girlfriend, Jerri (Laura Harring), as they head off to grandmother’s house.
Ricky then wakes up. He kills a drunken Santa Claus that is entertaining children. He also kills the receptionist. As the synopsis told, he has a psychic connection with Laura and can see different things through her eyes. He leaves bodies in his wake as well. Dr. Newbury is alerted to what happened and meets Lt. Connely (Robert Culp) who is assigned to the case. It becomes a race to Granny’s (Elizabeth Hoffman) house before it is too late.
I’ll be honest here; I didn’t have the highest hopes for this sequel. I like the original one, I think it is a sleazy, brutal film that takes a happy concept for most and perverts it. The second one isn’t really a movie, but more of a clip show with limited new footage. I’ll be honest though; I respect the move. That left me wondering what they were going to do here. I think we have some creative aspects. The first of which is the continuity. At first, I thought that Ricky was the killer Santa from the original. That is what they should have done in my opinion, but it is problematic as he would be old by the time this starts. It took me a bit to realize that Ricky is the younger brother in the first and the main character of the sequel. I must bring up an issue here with the editing. They use footage from part one that doesn’t make sense to explain this, hence my issue with the movie. It feels like they watched it, skipped the second and without realizing what they’re doing couldn’t work. I don’t mind following Ricky here as our killer again, but their explanation is sloppy.
With that out of the way, this movie does what many sequels tend to do in the horror genre by going supernatural. They don’t go too far with it though, so I can respect that. Ricky is in a coma and I like the idea of this doctor experimenting with psychic abilities to make a connection. It doesn’t seem safe doing this with a killer, but I guess there aren’t a lot of coma patients. There was also brain surgery here so maybe they think he might not realize who he is. The science isn’t explained too much, so I can roll with it. Having Ricky following Laura also makes sense with a fixation. Killers tend to do that so I get it. There is even a bit of mad scientist vibes here with Dr. Newbury and wanting to get there before the police.
I do have to go back into the negative though. This movie is borrowing from many other slasher films of the era. We get the creepy dream sequence to start and I’m fine with using these throughout the movie. We are dealing with two characters linked psychically so it is needed to fill in story elements. Most of the deaths are done off screen though. For a sequel, especially with how brutal one and a bit of two are, you need more bodies in my opinion. I don’t worry about the characters. The other part is that this is filmed in California so despite the decorations, it doesn’t feel like Christmas for me. I was curious about the original, which was set in Utah so we get the snow and cold feel there that this is lacking.
From here I’ll go to the acting. Our lead of Scully is fine. She doesn’t play a blind person great, but I think she handles hating the world well. I’ll be honest, she isn’t pleasant at all. I don’t feel the grief during the emotional scenes though. It was fun to see a young Moseley here. I’m a fan of him and he’s good as replacement Ricky. Beymer is fine as our mad scientist. DaRe is just kind of there. He doesn’t add much unfortunately. It was interesting to see a young Harring, especially topless. Hoffman is fine as the grandmother and Culp adds some weird comedy as the detective. Overall, the acting is fairly average.
Then there are the effects, cinematography and soundtrack for the movie. I thought what we get of the former were good. The blood has good color and some of the effects were impressive. They were done practically as well. The issue I have is the lack of them. The cinematography is solid as well. I think the movie is shot well and we get some decent point of view shots. The soundtrack tries to add that Christmas feel, but it is still lacking. This part of the movie though is fine in my opinion.
So then in conclusion here, this movie was better than I was expecting. The movie though is still lacking elements for me. I like where they’re taking the story. We have a character from the earlier two movies so there is continuity. A killer Santa is one that I like. There is an issue for me though with the edited in footage. They needed to ramp up the kill count more and show us more deaths on screen. The effects we get are good, the soundtrack fit for what was needed and it is shot well. For what they give us, I found this to be boring unfortunately. I’d say this is just below average though for what we got. I can only recommend this if you’re a fan of the series and like bad horror movies.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 10