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The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.
For more about Silent Night and the Silent Night Blu-ray release, see Silent Night Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 4, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Brendan Fehr, Donal Logue, Lisa Marie, Ali Tataryn
Director: Steven C. Miller
» See full cast & crew
Silent Night Blu-ray Review
Christmas treasure or garbage day rubbish?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 4, 2012
Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year.
Remember when Christmas entertainment was a little more heartfelt, a bit funnier, a tad less violent? The holiday season usually brings to mind titles like It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown specials, even new Ewok adventures. And for a bit of action there's the incomparable Die Hard. But that was then. This is now, bloody now. A murdering Santa is not exactly new -- hello Silent Night, Deadly Night and its 90% recycled footage sequel -- but a jolly old fat man soaked in blood and wielding an ax isn't as common as a DVR packed full of Hallmark Channel holiday made-for-TV RomCom cheer. Director Steven C. Miller (The Aggression Scale) re-imagines the idea of a rampaging Santa in Silent Night, a brutally violent Christmas flick that features "Santa" chopping his way through a small Wisconsin town because, well, wait for the end of the movie to find out. This is a well-made Chiller, nothing new, really, but a genre fan's delight nonetheless.
The small town of Cryer, Wisconsin, is about to get cheerier and bloodier. It's December 24th and the town is abuzz with holiday spirit. That is, everyone but Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King), a cop recently widowed and not ready to be on duty on her first Christmas without her husband. Unfortunately, she's called into work, anyway. Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) fears the worst with a town full of Santa dress-ups on the loose. Aubrey leaves home but not before saying goodbye to her mother and father, the latter of whom is an ex-cop. Aubrey handles her duties professionally even if she's hurting on the inside. Yet she's about to be faced with a terrible challenge: a killer Santa is on the loose, and he means business. Aubrey finds herself hot on the killer's trail after answering a call reporting strange smells which turn out to be mutilated and fried bodies. As Aubrey tirelessly works to track down the killer in a town overrun by wannabe Santas, the not-so-jolly Old Saint Nick remains hard at work electrocuting, hacking, stabbing, and dismembering all who get in the way of him and his Christmas prize.
In the grand scheme of things, Silent Night makes for a largely unremarkable Horror film. Yet it's cliché Horror done very well and it's not entirely a product made completely of its angle. To be sure, though, the presence of a Santa slayer gives the movie a gimmick and an edge beyond the usual "masked killer" Slasher flick. Nevertheless, the film dabbles in those intangibles normally reserved for "better" movies, not recycled Horror junk. There's quality characterization, acceptable if not unoriginal bad guy motivation, and slick filmmaking all contributing to a movie that knows its place and efforts to elevate itself to the top of that place and not beyond the confines of its comfortable, acceptable, and expected restraints. It's brutally violent -- more so than many of its kind -- and features the requisite T&A, but there's also relatable character moments, fine character interaction, and a believable small town atmosphere that makes the movie a bit more intimate than are those more generic Slashers that seemingly choose random people and settings and killers and hope for the best when they're intermixed on the screen. Silent Night betters the original Silent Night, Deadly Night and, while it's not on the same par and level of intensity of Miller's wonderful The Aggression Scale, it makes for an energized, fast-paced, and entertaining Holiday-themed Horror escapist film.
Better, Silent Night manages to maintain an air of mystery and a rather quick pacing even as it runs the gamut of police procedural elements and those handful of scenes in which characters are introduced for the sole purpose of knocking them off. The film never goes too far without a kill or at least showing a looming figure with ax in hands and ready to split some heads. Weaker-stomached viewers will want to stay far away; there's an excess of violence that's shown in all of its nastiness, including severed limbs, split heads, and various impalements. It's not a pretty sight, but connoisseurs of the finest Horror movie gore will certainly get their money's worth with Silent Night. On the other end of the spectrum, the film delivers suitably moody atmosphere, beginning with a rather beautifully composed scene of a victim tied up with Christmas lights. The picture maintains an air of intensity and smooth technical craftsmanship that manages to aid in heightening a movie that, at its core, could have earned a passing grade with less attention paid to ambiance and style but that excels considering its embracing of detail, character, and on-screen technical excellence. Silent Night rounds into form with a few good performances, notably from lead Jaime King who emotionally absorbs herself into character and pulls off a wounded and frightened but determined heroine as well as or better than any similar lead in recent Slasher history.
Silent Night Blu-ray, Video Quality
Silent Night's high definition transfer neither dazzles nor disappoints. It's one of those transfer's that's technically sound but not exactly on the cutting edge of high definition eye candy for late 2012. In other words, it's a very strong but forgettable high definition image that does its job completely but unremarkably. Anchor Bay's transfer offers a balanced color palette that handles every hue with the sort of natural accuracy one expects of an upper-tier technical transfer. Reds appear true, lesser shades balanced, black levels strong, and flesh tones accurate. Detail is just what viewers expect of a recent HD video motion picture. There's a slight glossy sheen to it, and it lacks the organic beauty of film, but viewers will delight in the crisp and well-defiend textures that appear throughout the film. The image is expectedly clean, with minimal and non-invasive noise, banding, and blocking elements. It's a fine example of a run-of-the-mill upper-end high definition transfer. Blu-ray veterans will be pleased with the results but nevertheless won't be pulling this one off the shelf to show off to friends and family.
Silent Night Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Silent Night jingles onto Blu-ray with a satisfying Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless sound presentation. An early jolt of holiday electricity charges through the speakers with shockingly good presence in one early scene, and the film follows with various scenes of mayhem playing with fine sonic aggression, positive force, and natural presence. Whether the heavy humming of a woodchopper, tearing flesh, whooshing flame throwers, or screaming victims, the track enjoys tip-top clarity around its most critical sonic moments. Music, which spreads around the joy by mixing together light Christmas-influenced notes with heavier Horror elements, plays with fine front-side spacing and suitable high definition clarity. Minor ambience around town and gentle surround support help create not necessarily a seamless environment but one that adequately pulls the listener into the experience beyond the heaviest effects. Dialogue, no surprise, plays clearly and cleanly through the middle. This is a positive, well-engineered track, not one for the record books but a satisfying Horror-influenced presentation.
Silent Night Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Silent Night contains two supplements. A DVD copy of the film is also included.
Silent Night Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Silent Night impresses, generally, even as it settles in as an example of staple Horror hack-and-slash cinema. It's largely redundant genre filmmaking but here done well and with a passion for both the Horror landscape as well as the value of a finely-crafted cinema experience. Silent Night knows its place and only works to make itself amongst the best of its kind, no more. It's a straightforward Slasher made with care that should delight core genre fans with the stomach to handle the gore that splashes across the screen. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Silent Night comes disappointingly low on extras but does feature the expectedly good audio-video presentation. Highly recommended to Horror buffs.
Silent Night Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Silent Night - December 3, 2012
Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay Films are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of director Steven C. Miller's Silent Night, starring Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King and Brendan Fehr. The loose remake of horror classic Silent Night, Deadly Night spills blood ...
• Silent Night Blu-ray - October 23, 2012
On November 30th, Anchor Bay Films presents a limited theatrical release of Silent Night, followed by a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack available to unwrap nationwide in December. The loose remake of the horror classic Silent Night, Deadly Night is directed by Steven C. ...
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