Wednesday, December 19, 2012

REVIEW: Silent Night

Silent Night
Director: Steven C. Miller
Year 2012

Silent Night is a devilish holiday Slasher flick that features a killer Santa who punishes the wicked in a small Midwestern town in the most horrific of ways. Loosely derived from the 1984 Slasher film Silent Night Deadly Night, this entry throws out the personal character study approach of the original and goes for a more mysterious angle with its Christmas killer. With an adrenalin rush of Yuletide imagery and an over abundance of malevolent humor, Silent Night is an entertaining bloodbath that will fit perfectly in the December rotation of annual holiday horror flicks.

The film takes place in a remote country town during the Christmas holidays, when a madman takes it upon himself to start dishing out his own form of justice. Drug dealers, snotty kids, porn peddlers, adulterers, and generally all around loathsome folks begin dropping like flies, all at the hands of a mysterious man dressed as Santa Clause. Deputy Aubrey Bradimore is called onto duty and quickly begins to discover the nefarious plot that has seemingly turned this normally peaceful town into a brutal killer’s twisted playground. With zero leads to go on and a town filled with countless Santa impersonators, Deputy Bradimore and the rest of the police-force are going to have their hands full this Christmas.

Jaime King takes on the role of Aubrey Bradimore, the forlorn Deputy of this small Wisconsin town who is haunted by a specter of her past. As far as Slasher films go, acting has never been a high priority for the genre, but King really ups the film’s quality with her superb portrayal of an officer doing her best to live up to her police officer father’s legacy. She constantly doubts herself and questions on whether she chose the right career path, but time after time you witness her rise to the occasion and prove her worth as the film progresses along. For me her performance was rather endearing and that was quite a surprise, as coming into this film I thought I would be presented with a formulaic attempt at a Holiday Slasher, which it is, but the added depth of King’s character was a splendid shake up of the genre and one I greatly appreciated.

Pairing up with King’s heartfelt woman of the law role is Malcolm McDowell’s ridiculous portrayal as Sheriff Cooper, the catch-phrase spitting badass who really doesn’t do anything badass in the confines of the film. I thought McDowell’s performance was nothing but ludicrous fun, as he plays his role so over the top and outrageous that you really can’t help but chuckle at the insanity of it all. It’s interesting to see Jamie King’s character juxtaposed against McDowell’s cartoon like character, and I feel that the presence of these two opposing personalities is the perfect example of how Silent Night generally comes off to its audience. It’s a wild bloody good time that constantly presents its viewers with one horrific violent act after another, but it also attempts to delve into some dramatic affairs when it focuses on Deputy Bradimore and her troubled past.

One thing that I thought was particularly hilarious about the world of Silent Night was that every single person in this quaint little town is pretty much a raging asshole. Now keep in mind, these aren’t your regular run of the mill pricks, but true turds of society straight out of a Rob Zombie flick. We’re introduced to them one by one as the film gradually gets started, beginning with an adulterous couple, a mean-spirited and bratty teen, a guy who steals money from his catatonic grandfather, a horned up pastor, a slew of drug dealers, a perverted Santa Clause, and even a porno film crew to round things out nicely. It’s almost laughable that this many assholes reside in the same town, especially when you take into account the overall look of the place, which is rather nice. Ultimately what we’re left with is a wholesome looking Midwestern town that has the most repugnant underbelly this side of Zombie’s re-envisioned Haddonfield. I for one enjoyed the contrasting elements and the fact that these people are such assholes. It makes it that much more enjoyable to see them get their comeuppance by the end of the film.

With that perfect kind of Slasher set up, introducing loathsome characters that we just want to see decimated, the film really excels in providing those satisfying moments where the killer punishes the naughty with reckless abandon and exceptional executions. The creative ways in which this killer Santa unleashes this unique brand of justice are varied and highly inventive, ranging from electrocution by use of Christmas lights, an unrelenting use of a cattle prod, a vicious multiple knifing, an intuitive use of a wood chipper, and last but not least, a glorious utilization of a flame thrower in the most brutal of ways. Add on top of that the outstandingly replicated holiday atmosphere of the film and you’ve got yourself a Christmas Slasher flick that definitely stands proud next to the long list of cult classics that have come before it.

Silent Night is a highly satisfying entry in the Killer Santa genre and it is one that revels in the absurdity of such a categorization. Shot in a sleek and colorful style, this film splashes its frame with an abundance of vivid colors which perfectly replicate the visual splendor that is Christmas. Forged with a violent tongue and cheek personality, Silent Night engages its audience with it’s over the top characters and varied methods of murder, all by the hands of a man in a bright red Santa Clause outfit.

Jaime King and Malcolm McDowell give some great performances in this production, but in entirely different ways. King allows a more personal story to be told within her character and she does this by constantly revealing to the audience that she is a three dimensional character with a storied past, while McDowell simply descends madly into a cartoon-like action hero persona who exclusively spits one-liners while trying to act mean as hell. The two couldn’t be any further personality wise from each other if they tried, but each one brings an entertaining aspect to the film in their own special way. With its entertaining actors, its long line of vile victims and its penchant for relishing in every gory detail, Silent Night is a stupendous effort that really shouldn’t be missed by fans of the Killer Santa genre or horror in general for that matter. Merry Christmas you filthy animals! This movie is one…..

Nice hat douchebag!

What a creep.

What do you want for Christmas you little shit?

The cutest deputy this side of..... EVER.

Simply having a sexual Christmas time.

Naughty.... Nice..... I'm the guy with the sack.

Easy there Santa. You're creeping on naughty territory there.

So that's where I left my foot.

Not the correct way to use a wood chipper, but I'll allow it.

Malcolm McDowell doing his best George Romero impersonation.

Which one of you assholes killed all of those people?


That's one hell of a Christmas present!

Santa gives the best hugs.

That my friends used to be a head.

Now that's what I'm talking about. That's what Christmas is all about.

My word! How barbaric!

Is it hot in here or is it just Santa?

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