silent night deadly night | silent night | steven c. miller | jayson rothwell | malcolm mcdowell | jaime king | donal logue | remake | slasher | christmas | comedy | mystery | thriller | canada | united states | rick skene | ellen wong | andrew cecon | courtney-jane white
Film: Silent Night
Director: Steven C. Miller
Writer: Jayson Rothwell
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King and Donal Logue
This was a movie that I actually didn't realize it was a remake until I got into listening to podcasts. What I did remember is when this came out while I was working at Family Video. It was on the new release wall for some time and the cover intrigued me. I wasn't sure if this was good or not aside from that. I am a fan though of the stars Malcolm McDowell and Jaime King. The synopsis here is the police force of a remote Midwestern town search of a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.
We start this off with a cold open. We're in a house that is rundown and someone is listening to Christmas music. The camera takes us into the bathroom where they're preparing themselves. They shave, cut up a plastic Santa mask and attach a fake beard to it. We then see whoever is getting ready has kidnapped Alana Roach (Ali Tataryn) who is in the bedroom and in the basement we have Deputy Jordan (Brendan Fehr). Dressing as Santa and putting on the mask, the one who kidnapped the two goes into the basement and electrocutes Jordan.
The movie then takes us to meet our main character, Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King). She is woken up by her boss via phone call, Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell). He is relaying that he needs her to come in today, even though it is her day off. She argues back, but he relays that Deputy Jordan is missing and hasn't called in. She's not happy, but relents. Aubrey lives her mother, Adriana O'Neil, and dad, John B. Lowe. He was left a Christmas gift in the mailbox, but they're not sure who left it. It should also be pointed out that he's a former police officer too.
We then get to meet others from the town as Aubrey goes into work. There is Mayor Revie (Tom Anniko) and his wild daughter of Tiffany (Courtney-Jane White). She also stops off at the local church and we get to meet the creepy Reverend Madeley (Curtis Moore). At the station, the dispatcher is Brenda (Ellen Wong) and soon after a bumbling deputy shows up named Giles (Andrew Cecon). He is of course late. Aubrey is then called away due to a Santa making people cry. He's going by the name of Santa Jim (Donal Logue).
It is at this time that there's a call made in about a bad smell coming from an abandoned house. Aubrey goes there to find Alana and Deputy Jordan. While this is going on, this man in the Santa mask goes to visit a seedy motel room where Frank (Aaron Hughes) is photographing Maria (Cortney Palm). Also there is Tiffany and they're all doing drugs. Tiffany leaves before the man arrives and there is a blood bath. Aubrey alerts the station and it becomes a hunt to find this bad Santa. The problem is that they have a parade and the town is filled with people dressed up as Santa too.
That's where I'm going to leave my recap of this movie as it gets you up to speed with this slasher movie. Where I will start with my analysis is that I really like the concept of this movie. It is a holiday slasher that is actually pretty mean spirited. It almost feels like the writer Jayson Rothwell or the director Steven C. Miller really dislikes the Christmas holiday as much as I do. I mean the obvious thing is that we have a killer Santa here, but Santa Jim despises the holiday as it seems to have beaten him down and Aubrey is pretty depressed as well. It appears that she lost her significant other or they left her around this time last year. The movie doesn't necessarily specify. Brenda also brings up an article about how more people tend to lose it around the holidays mentally in the same vein as Phoebe Cates character in Gremlins.
Being that this is a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night we have some similarities, but they're two different takes on the story really. I'd say the most glaring is that we have a psychopath killing while wearing a Santa Claus outfit. The original really follows the killer there more establishing his back-story. For this remake, we don't get that. We do get it as part of an urban legend and by the end we are revealed to the truth as well. This movie does have references though to the original and its sequel as well. There is a death with deer antlers, using an ax, a scene where Dennis (Erik Berg) visits his grandfather and to Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 with a joke about it being garbage day. There's also a scene with giving something to a little girl that I don't remember if it is from this series or nodding to another Christmas slasher, Christmas Evil.
I did have some issues with this movie though. The first that I need to bring up is Sheriff Cooper. He's extremely mean to Aubrey that I think is going too far. I don't know if they're trying to do this to show him as a sinner, since that is the reason this Santa Claus is killing or that's how they think that officers should act. The other part is that this film doesn't feel winter enough for me. Everyone is bundled up. They say they're cold, but I don't feel it. I don't recall seeing breath from the characters and the lack of snow for Wisconsin in the winter just is missing that feel for me that I need for this movie.
From here I think I'll take it to the acting. I really first give credit to the horror remake queen of King. She has been in at least 3 that I know of. I really like her in this role as this broken deputy that is struggling with some things that have happened to her. She is attractive on top of that. It would be nice to see her in more or still being in horror movies. McDowell is fine in his role as well. My issue with him is more with either the writing or the direction he was given. I don't think he should be as rude as he is. I liked the cameo by Logue. Skene does really well as the villain in this movie. It makes sense as a long time stunt performer. Aside from that I think Wong, Cecon, White, Berg and the rest of the cast round this out for what was needed.
Next should be the effects. This movie does really good with the practical effects. I like the deaths that we get along with the blood and gore that comes with it. All of these looked really good to me and they are pretty creative on top of that. What doesn't work though is the CGI when they go to it. There isn't a lot of it, so that is good. I know there's a scene with exploding eyes and then an ax being thrown, where my issue there is more with the angle for the shot. Doesn't ruin the movie, but it didn't work for me. Aside from that, I'd say that the cinematography was solid.
That's all I really wanted to delve into with this movie. I think this is actually a pretty solid remake of a classic holiday slasher. The changes that they made don't really bother me and I think that this movie really shines with the practical effects and the deaths. Most of the acting works for me as well and my only problem with a character isn't the performance. I don't love the CGI used. The feel of Christmas or winter is missing as well aside from things characters say and the use of songs for the holiday. With that said, I do think that that this is an above average movie for me.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10