• Silent Night

    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: December 4, 2012.
    Director: Steven C. Miller
    Cast: Jaime King, Malcolm McDowell, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, Brenden Fehr
    Year: 2012
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    The Movie:

    A remake of one of the most notorious holiday themed slashers ever, Steven C. Miller’s 2012 take on Silent Night, Deadly Night (now just called Silent Night) takes place in a small town somewhere in Wisconsin and follows a police officer named Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King). When Christmas Eve rolls around she gets a call from Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) who calls her in – the officer who was supposed to be on duty is nowhere to be seen.

    As one thing leads to another, it seems that there’s a killer on the loose who dresses up in a Santa suit, deems his victims naughty, and then dispatches with them in increasingly grisly fashion. Given that there’s actually a Santa Pageant of sorts going on in the town and that there are hundreds of people wandering around dressed in red and white sporting giant white beards, it might be tougher than you’d think to figure out who is doing the killing here. Further, given that this guy’s definition of naughty is pretty loose, it seems that almost everyone in the small town is a potential victim. Aubrey figures it’s got to be Jim (Donal Logue), a creepy Santa who, according to the complaints, has been making kids cry but there’s more to all of this than that. As she and Cooper try to catch the killer, the body count gets higher and higher…

    A pretty straight forward slasher film that works in elements of ‘whodunnit’ style mystery films, Silent Night moves at a very quick pace. From its opening murder, in which Christmas lights are used for a very creative kill scene, through to the finish the film never drags. The picture also dishes up very liberal doses of grue and gore showing everything from limb severing to chopping, slicing, dicing, flamethrowering and woodchippering (those are real verbs, honest) along the way. The movie’s even got a naked lady (Cortney Palm) chase scene that’s almost as ridiculously awesome as the one that showed up in the remake of My Bloody Valentine. The effects are solid (there’s no obvious CGI here) and leave very little to the imagination, and at the risk of offering up a mild spoiler (quick, don’t look!) the original’s most notorious kill scene is recreated here and rather well at that.

    More than just sex and gore, however, the film also offers up some occasionally creepy imagery in the form of the killer Santa himself. Hulking and lumbering and with hollow, dead looking eyes he makes his way from one kill to the next ever silent. He’s got good, eerie screen presence and the filmmakers are clever enough to shoot him in such a way that he’s always an impressive and evil figure. The production values are solid here though there is very little in the way of character development – things are definitely lacking in that departmennt. The movie is well edited, very nicely shot and makes great use of color, reds especially (which is befitting of the seasonal theme of the movie). The performances are okay and King makes a likeable enough lead who turns in some good work here. McDowell is kind of wasted here and not given much to do but act like his Loomis character from the Halloween remake but he’s fun when he’s on screen and the supporting players are also solid. Though it ends with more of a whimper than the bang that it starts with, the good outweighs the bad and the film offers up some enjoyable cheap thrills, if not a whole lot more..


    Anchor Bay brings Silent Night to Blu-ray framed at 2.40.1 widescreen in a very nice looking AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. As the movie was shot on digital video there are no issues with print damage to note while color reproduction remains excellent even if the movie makes frequent use of minor filtering to give things a certain sense of coldness. Black levels are strong and deep while detail and texture are consistently impressive. Flesh tones look nice and natural there are no issues with compression artifacts or edge enhancement. All in all, the movie looks great in high definition.

    Also strong is the English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround mix. Surround activity is pretty common throughout the movie and bass response is strong and impressive. Directional effects are well placed and the levels are properly balanced throughout. The score sounds good, spread out through the various channels in the mix, while dialogue remains easy to hear. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and there’s lots of depth to the mix. Optional English closed captioning is provided as are Spanish subtitles.

    Extras are slim but we get a seven minute Behind The Scenes featurette which is an assortment of random on set footage and just under five minutes worth of minor deleted scenes. Trailers for a few other Anchor Bay properties play before the menus load. Chapter selection is included for the feature and the extras and trailers are presented in high definition. As this is a Combo Pack release, a standard definition DVD release containing identical features is also included.

    The Final Word:

    Not nearly as creepy as the original, Silent Night is at least entertaining enough that slasher fans will want to check it out. The film earns high marks for quality gore, some nice nudity, and a good sense of dark humor and Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray, while short on extras, looks and sounds excellent. A pretty solid release overall.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!