Silent Night, Zombie Night opens in suburbia, and has the same looking opening scene in vain of Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. It starts off all slow, with two people having a normal conversation. Seems normal, right? Not really, because one of the human’s immediately gets bitten by a zombie, followed by a hilarious opening montage giving the viewer the impression that this will not be a serious film. I just reviewed Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption here at WSB, and I have to say, this beats it by a longshot. Silent Night, Zombie Night is funny, well-written, and is an enjoyable film throughout. Yes, this is one of those instances where a film is so mediocre that it’s widely entertaining.
As I mentioned, Silent Night, Zombie Night takes place in a zombie apocalypse, except it shows initial reactions from the start. We are given little information about the characters, which usually annoys me, but is only suitable in a film of this stature. Back to the story; husband / L.A.P.D officer Frank Talbot (Jack Forcinito) and his wife, Sarah Talbot (Nadine Stenovitch) are experiencing marital problems because Sarah is accused of sleeping with Frank’s best friend and longtime partner Nash Jackson (Andy Hopper). The human drama gets amorous when Sarah must choose between new-fling Nash, or obedient husband Frank.
I’ll remind you again, this is a movie about zombies. Since this is, indeed, a very cheesy movie, Frank and Sarah have makeup sex, and that plot goes away for a bit, while we focus more on the zombies. If I tell you any more about that story arc, I’ll give it away, so stay tight for the good part of my everlasting plot synopsis (even though it is blatantly featured in the plot synopsis on the back cover of the box). Ah, hell, it is not that big of a spoiler; not only do they have to survive the zombie attack, but they have to survive the fight for Sarah.
In 2002, Director Danny Boyle made the zombie genre one of the most intense genre’s in the horror category. In late 2009, Director Ruben Fleischer made the zombie genre a farce, with his hit film Zombieland. Silent Night, Zombie Night seems to be following in Zombieland’s footsteps, because I found a lot of the humor to be similar in both the films. For example, there is a scene in Zombieland where Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) attempts to get what is known as “Zombie Kill of the Week” by killing the infected in the most ridiculous ways possible. In this film, officer Frank Talbot uses a baseball bat and ball to kill numerous zombies, while smiling, with “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” playing in the background. That scene had all sorts of right going on in it, and it is all thanks to the new millennium and its reinvention of the zombie genre.
Up until the 50-minute mark, this was a fun film, unfortunately, good things do not last forever. I started noticing an issue with the audio, where actors voices were not accurately synced with the dialogue being said, which irritated the heck out of me. There was one scene where a woman is in the midst of a sentence, and when she is about to mutter a few words, it becomes mute for a few seconds, and leaves the viewer in a state of confusion. When you are in the editing process, it is quite unusual to have such a major, and dumbfounded flaw that would be so obvious for somebody who does this for a living. Unfortunately, this will affect my final grade of the film.
Silent Night, Zombie Night was directed by Sean Cain (Naked Beneath the Water) who handled this film with solid dexterity. The whole film has a real indie feel to it, and aside from not fixing the audio-syncing issue, I was pleased with Cain’s direction. Acting-wise, I had a pleasure watching these unknown actors working together. Being able to see how they get through the danger of a zombie outbreak by replacing it with cliche human drama (not to be taken seriously), is fun, and the war of love between the two cops is a well-developed side story.
A fun, albeit thrilling movie that has enough witty and clever moments to keep the viewer entertained.
Silent Night, Zombie Night is presented in the average 1080p (1.78:1). This does not serve all too well for the film. Lighting is all over the place in this one, and sometimes skin tones do not match well with the suburban setting. Despite those troubling aspects, there is some good to be found in this. When lighting is not interfering, the suburban town is quite colorful and pleasant to view. For the most part, I was pleased with this conversion, but it could have been expanded on a bit more.
The 5.1 track featured on Silent Night, Zombie Night is beyond mediocre, it is downright abhorrent! As mentioned in my review of the film above, there are many problems with audio editing, particularly when there are extended dialogue scenes. I will not go into that again, I’ll rather rant on about the other issues I had with this audio. The sound FX were poorly handled. The gunshots do not sound good at all. They sound quiet, unrealistic, and could have used a whole lot of rendering. I have nothing positive to say here.
For the most part, I had fun with Silent Night, Zombie Night. It was fun, funny, and was good for a few scares. While it does not have the best features technically, the film is good enough to ensure a good time. At best, it’s worth purchasing if it is five bucks. Otherwise, rent it.