Horror remakes can be a mixed bag, though one can safely file away Silent Night into the righteous drawer. When Silent Night, Deadly Night came out in 1984, it was chock-full of exploitive elements -- and it devoted ample time to the killer Santa's motivation. By comparison, Steven C. Miller's update is far more of a stripped-down slasher, giving audiences the gruesome goods within the first few minutes. Shot on a relatively low budget, the flick has quite a cinematic look to it, filled to the brim with rich colors and rousing death scenes. Much like My Bloody Valentine 3D, this redo should play well with seasoned fans of the franchise and new genre audiences alike.
The story follows Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King), a young deputy who's on the hunt for a killer dressed as Santa Claus. With the help of her quirky sheriff (Malcolm McDowell) and her father (John B. Lowe), a retired cop-turned-Santa portrayer, the fresh-faced officer stalks the streets of her small Midwestern town as its citizens prepare for the annual Christmas Eve parade -- unaware that a maniac is on the hunt for naughty festivalgoers.
Although the whodunit aspect runs out of steam (and is eventually left in the dust), Silent Night's murdering madman is a sight to see no matter who he ends up being. With a creepy stalker mask affixed to a flowing beard, this villain employs plenty of killing implements, including a Taser, a fire poker, Christmas lights, an axe, and, yes, a flamethrower! Enthusiasts of the original will be happy to see some send-ups of their favorite moments, even if they don't come close to being as good (what's with the monster voice during the old man's warning speech?!). Additionally, the director employs some terrible shaky-camera techniques during a few of the action scenes that are just plain needless. But really, who wants to nitpick a killer Santa movie? Silent Night is indeed worth your time if homicidal holiday heroes are what you want under your tree.