SILENT NIGHT  (REVIEW)
Dir. Camille Griffin
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
'tis the season for festive cheer and getting the family together but writer and director Camille Griffin has other ideas in what is the most depressing and downbeat film since MELANCHOLIA.
Nell (Kiera Knightly) and Simon (Matthew Goode) are ready to welcome friends and family for what promises to be a perfect Christmas gathering. Everyone in a vibrant mood and children running through the postcard perfect house in the country. Everything is perfect except for one thing: everyone is going to die.
Those looking at the A-star ensemble will not be getting the follow up to LOVE ACTUALLY as SILENT NIGHT is tinged with dark comedy (thanks to it's well written and delivered bitterness) but the film really pays tribute to the darkness of events lingering around and as the effects of Global Warming (or the Russians) take hold, a poisonous gas is wiping out the human population and is heading toward them on this very night.
It's a genre defying watch and shares much more with the brilliant HAPPY NEW YEAR, COLIN BURSTEAD (I'm not sure anyone could survive the misery of watching both back to back over the festive period) yet has tinges of THE ROAD and THE MIST firmly wrapping around. The second half of this film is the scariest thing on screen this year and while there's no boogeyman at large, the body count is much bigger.
SILENT NIGHT's cast including Knightly, Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis (in another brilliant turn this year), the always fantastic Sope Dirisu, a superb and emotional double act from Lucy Punch and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as well as Lily Rose Depp in what is her best performance yet, quite frankly this is the best ensemble this year (the same year we had LAST NIGHT IN SOHO and HALLOWEEN KILLS). All of which balance the humour and horror so delicately that it feels strange that one moment you are laughing at a sly one liner the next, crying at them the next. What's more festive than a family get together at Christmas with impending doom?
It's a strange sentiment of our time that something like SILENT NIGHT can strike a chord with reality and sometimes crosses the line between fact and fiction a little too closely however is just enough to prevent anyone from thinking about grabbing the pills.
SILENT NIGHT defies anything else this year, it's scary but not horror, it's funny but depressing, it's a Christmas film with little festive spirit. This succeeds at being both funny and terrifying and there truly is nothing like it. This is a film of it's own making and one that won't be for everyone but those that want something a little different and closer to life this season, it certainly is a "treat".