Monday, December 24, 2012

Silent Night

Having never seen the original Silent Night, Deadly Night from 1984, I don't have the proper context to be outraged by the 2012 version--whose title has been shortened to simply Silent Night. However, I've been told that the Winnipeg-filmed update has little to do with that notoriously seasonal slasher flick, beyond both of them having a killer Santa in them, so I can safely hold onto my remake rage for January's Texas Chainsaw 3D.
Silent Night follows the trail of carnage left by a less-than-jolly Saint Nick, one who punishes the naughty by way of stabbing, impaling, and immolation by flamethrower. Those who are nice are rewarded with, well, not being on the receiving end of any of those. A recently-widowed deputy (Jamie King) has been tasked by her sheriff (a weirdly-cast but nicely tongue-in-cheek Malcolm McDowell) with ending the string of ho-ho-homicides. The investigation is further complicated by the fact that the town holds an annual Santa parade, so the streets are already running red with possible perps.
The original Silent Night, Deadly Night provoked outrage upon its release, prompting some parents to issue death threats to the filmmakers for daring to depict Santa as an axe-wielding maniac. I can't imagine it'd be much comfort to them to know that the '12 model is a more comedic take on a similar idea. Jayson Rothwell's screenplay is a lot sharper and wittier than you might expect; the once-picturesque Midwestern town the film takes place in is suffering from economic decline, and has accordingly surrendered to the more fruitful industries of drugs, prostitution, and pornography (meaning that there's no shortage of potential victims for Santa). Comedy aside, though, this is still one bloody movie. A bratty little girl gets skewered, a philandering cop gets barbecued, and a porn actress is stuffed feet-first into a woodchipper. With its unspeaking Santa viciously doling out punishment to local nogoodniks, Silent Night is really more of a vigilante tale than a slasher movie. Director Steven C. Miller creates a world of exaggerated cartoon violence, bathed in appropriately garish colour schemes. The supporting cast (particularly McDowell's eccentric lawman and Donal Logue's drug-dealing Santa) is great, and King is game and determined as the film's heroine, even if the model-turned-actress looks a bit too glammy for a small-town deputy. It may earn everyone involved a lump of coal, but Silent Night is a sick, slick little stocking stuffer.

1 comment:

Limo in Seattle said...

Fun movie to watch! That McDowell was hilarious sometimes and the gore was good!