Modern remakes of classic, even bad movies don’t have to be necessarily better, with Steven C. Miller’s Silent Night being a fine example.
(USA 2012, director: Steven C. Miller)
On Christmas Eve, an unknown killer in a Santa Claus costume gets rid of some citizens of a small Midwestern town, while the police force tries to handle the situation.
When one checks the clock while watching a movie, that’s never a good sign, and it’s an even worse one when one thinks how the bad original Silent Night, Deadly Night isn’t so bad after all in retrospect. Unfortunately, Silent Night is an example of how NOT to do a remake. It certainly has better acting and more creative kills, but when that’s all there is with an almost non-existent story and the general lack of snow, then something has to be wrong.
It’s strange, but for a slasher movie with a high bodycount, Silent Night is less enjoyable than the original 1983 flick that took a while to get going and the death scenes of which are quite laughable from today’s perspective. The problem is not only that the identity of the killer remains a mystery throughout the runtime, but that there aren’t any clues for the audience to follow. The random encounters or kills are disappointing as well, so that the change between uninteresting characters (even Malcolm McDowell doesn’t do a good job, being reminiscent of his Dr. Loomis role in the Halloween II remake) with some dramatic elements which don’t work and the violent kills doesn’t create any tension. It’s the same fate Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines suffered, i.e. waiting for some bloody action to break the monotony of pointless dialogue and boredom.
At least the death scenes are quite original, a highlight being someone put into a wood chopping machine, although they’re too few. Compared to a slasher movie like The Collection, the pacing is too slow and there’s simply not much else going on. It’s too bad that the director’s former movie The Aggression Scale was such a tense and fun flick (although Under the Bed wasn’t great either), in comparison to this uninspired slow burner that does not even have the original’s psychological twist, as cheap as it was, or the unintentionally funny “Naughty!” shout every time someone is about to die. From a production value standpoint, everything’s quite alright, but from an entertainment standpoint, this has much to be desired. The original might have horrible acting and bad effects, but at least it had plenty of snow and some memorable scenes.
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