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Silent Night (Blu-ray Review)

In 1984, the slasher classic Silent Night, Deadly Night stunned audiences, was banned across America, and remains the most notorious Christmas movie in history. Now, Santa is back, and he’s got a brand new bag of tricks. As their small Midwestern town prepares for its annual Christmas Eve parade, Sheriff (Malcolm McDowell of Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and his deputy (Jaime King of My Bloody Valentine 3-D and Hart Of Dixie) discover that a maniac in a Santa suit is murdering those he judges as ”naughty.” Their sins? Porn, adultery, greed… And he will make sure they rest in heavenly pieces. Donal Logue (Shark Night 3D, Blade ), Ellen Wong (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World ), Lisa Marie (The Lords of Salem), and Brendan Fehr (CSI: Miami) co-star in this brutal and darkly humorous tale of Christmas gone bad. 

Film 

Silent Night is the new film by director Steve C. Miller (The Aggression Scale), is a loose remake of the 1980’s now horror classic: Silent Night, Deadly Night. This version stars Malcolm McDowell as Sheriff Cooper and Jaime King as Deputy Aubrey Bradimore – they’re part of the police force that is set to keep a watchful eye on the upcoming Christmas Eve parade that happens every year in their small mid-western town. According to Sheriff Cooper “Christmas is the craziest day of the year.” Deputy Bradimore has some reservations about working on Christmas Eve as it reminds her of the loss of her husband one year to the day of.

Urban legend also has it that there’s a psycho on the loose that dresses up as Santa Claus that goes from town to town exacting terrible punishment on the town inhabitants. Granted, if you’ve been nice, you’re okay, but if you’ve been naughty, then you’re dead meat. Let’s just say that Santa Claus has come to this town and is ready to lay down a bit of wrath.

That’s pretty much all there is to Silent Night. It’s a very uncomplicated premise and a very uncomplicated movie. What you see is what you get. I watched the trailer a few weeks ago and was stoked to check it out. Now I’ve never actually seen the original Silent Night, Deadly Night, but did watch and read about the controversy it garnered back in the mid-80’s. I watched some clips before I started writing this review and they made me chuckle. Even Siskel & Ebert bashed the original. With the rise of horror films in the last 26-27 years since the original was released this loose remake will barely make a blip in the radar in terms of controversy.

Granted, I enjoyed Silent Night but it is not a perfect ride on a sleigh, so to speak. I have a couple of problems with it. I love Malcolm McDowell but his mid-western drawl/demeanor doesn’t fit. Yes, he’s meant to be a dick but it comes off a little weak at times – very scene chewing, although his analogies are pretty funny especially the one about the burgers. Another problem I had was with the abundance of lens flairs. I’m over them. I wish the film didn’t have them, but what can you do? Yeah, that’s pretty much it on the cons side of things. Let’s get to the pros. The KILLS! Wow, there are many creative and brutal kills throughout Silent Night that will make you squirm and scream. One of the most memorable kills involves a wood chipper and an axe. The axe kill goes on my top list of best kills in recent memory. Yes, a wood chipper kill would also be a memorable one, but wait until you see what an axe can do.

Another major pro would have to be on the production and style of the film itself. Silent Night is a beautiful looking movie and no, not because Jaime King and some of the female leads are smoking hot, but because it’s a visually stunning horror film in general. The lighting, cinematography, compositions, is all very impressive. It’s a low budget feature for sure but they get every cent up on that screen and it looks great. You’ll be happy to know that the Blu-ray does the film justice in terms of video presentation.

Director Steven C. Miller has been a very busy boy – directing at least 3 films that I know of all within a span of about a year. He showed great promise with The Aggression Scale (Review HERE) and I wondered what he could do with a bigger budget. Well, Santa answered my questions with Silent Night. I look forward to more of his work in the near future. *coughs* Under the Bed *coughs*

Video 

Silent Night is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and no surprise here, it was shot on the RED system of cameras. You can’t go wrong with a RED. Flesh tones and textures come through beautifully, black levels are stellar and never crush, but contrast can run a little hot in some scenes and it is not helped with the use of lens flairs to cover it up. Granted, the flairs were obviously used for aesthetic purposes, but in the context in which they are presented it does not help the look of the film. Now what does help the look of the film in spades is the COLOR! Wow, what a great looking horror film that has a very diverse color palette, without looking cheesy,lame, or rainbow brite-ish. Primary and secondary colors just leap off of the screen in droves. The amount of red used (blood, costumes, lighting) is up there and the Blu-ray transfer hold its own. Banding and noise are absent as is edge enhancement. If it weren’t for the few contrast anomalies floating around this would have gotten a higher score in the video department. It’s still a very good looking Blu-ray and beautifully shot film. Kudos to cinematographer Joseph White (Mother’s Day) for crafting the look of Silent Night. Kudos to the team that transferred this film onto Blu-ray.

Audio  

Silent Night is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless surround sound. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Complimenting the above average video is an above average audio track. It’s a very aggressive front channel driven film, with hints of despair thrown into the rear channels as flourishes. Things pick up when the flame thrower is incorporated – the surround sound during those scenes is pretty cool. Dialogue sounds clean, clear, and crisp. I was able to make out what everyone was saying without any problems. The LFE-subwoofer channel gives the sense of dread an extra push in certain scenes, too. I’d say that things really sound brutal (in a good way) during the kills and then scales it way back during regular scenes as to not bombard you constantly with noise – it’s nicely balanced between the quieter scenes and the louder chaotic ones.

Extras  

Things were bound to slow down a bit after the previous accolades given to the film in terms of special features. We only get a fly-on-the-wall featurette and some deleted scenes that didn’t necessarily move the story forward, but did shed light on Bradimore’s home life with her folks. That’s pretty much it as far as extras go.

  • Silent Night: Behind The Scenes
  • Deleted Scenes

Summary 

Silent Night was a whole hell of a lot of fun and the Blu-ray delivers in spades, with regards to the video and audio specs, but drops the ball in terms of special features, or the lack thereof. Silent Night is definitely on its way to achieving cult status (if it hasn’t already). The film is well made, has some VERY cool kills, and gives the most recent crop of horror films a nice kick in the ass to shake them out of complacency. Just like Trick ‘R Treat became the new face of Halloween terror a few years ago, I believe Silent Night will do that for Christmas time horror in the years to come. And if I’m lying then my aunt’s my uncle. 😉

 

 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Silent Night (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Looks good!
    Sean and I are going to have to rent this one!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    I think you’ll dig it. You enjoyed the remake of Mother’s Day, so that’s a pretty good indicator of you liking Silent Night.