SILENT NIGHT (REVIEW)
Dir. Steven C. Miller
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
In 1984 SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT hit cinema’s and within two weeks of its released had been pulled by cinema’s across America. The idea of ‘Santa’ killing people was far too dark to be advertised thought angry parents who picketed against the film and eventually got the ban enforced. Over years since however, the parents have lost as their children have now grown to see what a superb film it was giving it a festive cult status. The idea of a child’s parents murdered by a man dressed as Santa Claus and the memories haunting him as he got older was brilliantly done as he eventually lost the plot and thought it was the festive spirit that drove a man to kill was far to twisted for middle class mothers who like to wrap their children in bunny rabbits and soft toys.
Then no surprise it is that after several secrets and some time on the slab, the series needed a remake and here we have the much shorter titled, SILENT NIGHT.
However, the surprise may come that while SILENT NIGHT has some minor references to the original; it stands tall in being its own film. The story is similar but done in a way so completely different that you wouldn’t recognise it even if you’d read the script. When a man dressed as the festive Father travels from town to town each year on a seasonal killing spree, he hits a Midwestern town and leaving officer Bradimore (horror icon Jamie King) and Sheriff Cooper (legend of the silver screen, Malcolm McDowell) to hold the fort. McDowell gives his best OTT brilliance that made his Dr Loomis his own, and King manages to stay at her best as the heroine seeking to bring the killer down.
Where SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT had pace and left the best for the last half hour, SILENT NIGHT kick starts with the electrocution of a man via Christmas lights and doesn’t slow down from there with more imaginative kills as he seeks to leave the town, population none. This film won’t win Oscars but will certainly hold a cult status amongst the blood thirsty horror fans that need proof of an 18 age rating. This film has as much kills to rival a season of deer hunting and this Santa plans on painting the town red.
Flame throwers, killing a bent preacher with a tazer and bursting into porn shoots and slashing the cast are all in a days work for Father Christmas and when one suspect rises, another one dies. A thriller that is tainted with black humour and a plot that keeps you guessing until the end with the big plot reveal and while this is evidently based on the ’84 original by stealing scenes and having the story loosely reflect the events of the classic (one kill that replicates a scene from the ’84 classic involving pinning a woman to some deer horns doesn’t quite replicate the iconic status that scene has since built) SILENT NIGHT is in itself its own film that bucks a trend for rubbish remakes and blends imagination with admiration. For what it’s worth, if all you want for Christmas is a bloody good dose of festive fun with humour and death, SILENT NIGHT is certainly the number 1 favourite.