This is how you do a remake and this is how you do a Christmas slasher movie, oh yes. Silent Night is a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night but, to be honest, it only takes loose inspiration from that movie. Both films are about killer Santas but there are some big differences. Fans, however, will be delighted to see a number of nods to the original film.
It's Christmas Eve and Officer Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King) is called in to help out while everyone prepares for the big day. The streets are full of men dressed as Santa, all getting ready for the annual Christmas parade. That makes things awfully difficult when the police find out that they have a killer on their hands, a killer meting out justice while dressed as Santa Claus.
A lot of people will find so many elements of Silent Night just wrong, wrong, wrong. Personally, I think that screenwriter Jayson Rothwell and director Steven C. Miller get everything just right. The film doesn't waste any time in setting up the nasty premise and then barely lets up until the end credits roll (approximately 94 minutes later).
The death scenes play a big part in the entertainment factor, of course, with a variety of methods used to get rid of various folk on the naughty list. Electrocution by a set-up that involves a lot of Christmas lights, some fun with a woodchipper and an absolutely classic case of axe head meeting human head, those are just a few of the many great kills in the movie.
However, as much as a few horror fans may debate the issue, great kills alone don't make for a great movie. Thankfully, Silent Night also has a great cast to add to the entertainment value. Jaime King is a lead you can really root for so there are no problems there but the supporting cast are where things really start to shine. Malcolm McDowell clearly has a blast as the Sheriff who keeps coming up with absurd sayings to apply to every situation and Donal Logue is great fun as a cynical Santa who falls under suspicion. Ellen Wong, Brendan Fehr, Lisa Marie, Courtney-Jane White, Ali Tataryn, Curtis Moore and Tom Anniko all do well in a variety of supporting roles, some more memorable than others for reasons that will become obvious once you watch the thing.
That's the main point I want to reiterate at the end of this review, DO watch the movie. If you're a horror fan then this is a fantastic, beautifully simple, bodycount slasher movie just like they used to make. If you're a comedy fan then you might just find yourself laughing at the sheer gusto of the whole thing. If you're a fan of all things nice and sweet then you . . . . . . . . well, you may just want to ignore this entire review and rewatch A Christmas Story instead.