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Silent Night – Blu-ray Review

December 2, 2012 – 12:46 PM - Posted by: Justin Sluss

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Blu-ray Disc Review

3.5 out of 5 starsThe Movie Itself has an average rating of 5.0 on IMDb
4.5 out of 5 starsVideo Quality 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 25gb disc
4.5 out of 5 starsAudio Quality
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
1 out of 5 starsBonus Materials are way too short but include a DVD
Rated:R (Restricted)
Year: – 2012
Length: – 94 minutes
Studio:Anchor Bay
Region:Region 1 (A)
This uses 17.6GB for the movie out of 20.2GB total.
Street Date: December 4th, 2012


Overall VerdictDecent Horror / Great Presentation

Buy it for $14.81 @ Amazon.com
Buy it on Blu-ray for $14.81 @ Amazon.com


— Review written by: Justin Sluss

Trailer:


The Movie Itself is a loose remake of the extremely controversial horror film “Silent Night, Deadly Night” from 1984. The screenplay to this was written by Jayson Rothwell whose previous writing credits include the films “Blessed” from 2004, “Zemanovaload” from 2005 (which he also directed) and “Malice in Wonderland” from 2009. The film was directed by Steven C. Miller whose other directing credits include “Automaton Transfusion” from 2006 (which he also wrote), the TV movie “Scream of the Banshee” from 2011, as well as “The Aggression Scale” and “Under the Bed” both from 2012. It’s safe to say Miller was both busy and naughty this year as all three of the films he made in 2012 were of the horror genre. However, I think this may be the most controversial film he’s made. Is it anywhere near as controversial as the film it’s loosely based on? More on that later.

This time around the story is based in a small Wisconsin town. The protagonist is a female police Deputy by the name of “Aubrey Bradimore” (played by Jaime King) who is struggling through the holiday season. She’s called on Christmas Eve by her boss “Sheriff Cooper” (played by Malcolm McDowell) to fill in for another deputy who’s gone missing. The town is known for having its huge Santa parade on Christmas Eve and it’s safe to estimate about half of the town’s population are dressed up in Santa Claus costumes for the event. That is about to be one major problem as they soon discover from a path of dead bodies that a psychopath wearing a Santa suit is going around murdering those that he’s deemed “naughty.” As the film starts out we see the killer put on a mask behind the Santa beard and proceed to torture a female tied up in a bed and a male in the basement tied with Christmas lights to a chair. Let’s just say, to avoid any “spoilers”, that those folks end up dead but the deranged Santa gets pretty creative with how he murders them. They are his first victims of many on one bloody Christmas Eve killing spree.

Because of the town’s parade leaving the streets flooded with men dressed the part it completely remains a mystery as to who the man behind the mask in the Santa costume is. The Sheriff and his deputies start to question any guys in Santa costumes that fit the size left by a trail of bloody footprints at the first crime scene. Earlier in the day Deputy Bradimore had been called in on a complaint about a Santa making children cry. The man, “Santa Jim” (played by Donal Logue), had a very disturbing take on the holiday and was extremely rude to the deputy. When the time comes and she thinks back on the encounter with him she immediately decides he would be a very likely suspect. She’ll try to find him again for questioning as well as a few other suspects along the way. All the time any of these men dressed up as ‘ole jolly St. Nick could be our killer. The audience is left guessing who it is just as the police are.

The folks that are deemed “naughty” by our secret Santa (of sorts) are guilty of your average sins such as greed and lust. They’re not exactly innocent people, let’s put it that way but then again they don’t really deserve to be brutally murdered on Christmas Eve. Some of the other characters (co-stars) here include the police station’s dispatcher / receptionist “Brenda” (played by Ellen Wong), the less than likable “Reverend Madeley” (played by Curtis Moore), “Mayor Revie” (played by Tom Anniko), the mayor’s slut teenage daughter “Tiffany” (played by Courtney-Jane White), Tiffany’s boyfriend of sorts “Dennis” (played by Erik J. Berg), “Mrs. Morwood” (played by Lisa Marie), cheating wife “Alana Roach” (played by Ali Tataryn), the missing “Deputy Jordan” (played by Brendan Fehr), the less than competent “Deputy Giles” (played by Andrew Cecon), a softcore porn model with a nice rack named “Maria” (played by Cortney Palm), another scumbag in a Santa suit “Stein Karsson” (played by Mike O’Brien), as well as Deputy Aubrey’s father (played by John B. Lowe) and mother (played by Adriana O’Neil).

Silent Night on Blu-ray screenshot

Silent Night” is in no way comparable to the film that it’s loosely based on, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” from 1984. That film was extremely controversial for its time as you can see HERE in a video review Siskel and Ebert did on their program “At the Movies” in which they declared “shame on” everyone involved with the film — by name. These days I don’t think you’ll see Roger Ebert even take the time to review this as it is only getting a limited theatrical run before hitting home video. I doubt Ebert would have anything good to say about it and that should come as no surprise. To a fan of horror and exploitation films though I have to say this does have its moments and pays SOME homage to the original film with similarities. The main character and story is really entirely different and the only main things they have in common is the fact they both include an axe-wielding psychopath on a murdering spree wearing a “Santa Claus” suit. Whereas in the 1984 film we clearly knew who was in the Santa suit and why he justified what he was doing, here we’re left guessing who the person in the suit is and what’s justifying their actions. It’ll leave you guessing up until the very end of the film as to who the Santa is in this 2012 film and that is in no way a “spoiler” to tell you.

I can’t say that this film will receive anywhere near as much controversy as the 1984 film did as it was backed by a larger studio and distributor (for its time) TriStar. Anchor Bay however has become a pretty big indie studio (owned by Starz) and has put some money into promoting this film; just not in the way of a TV ad like the 1984 film had that spawned the controversy even before the film was released. Let’s face it though, controversy is not always a bad thing; as the 1984 film went on to establish itself a cult-following of sorts. Will this? I can’t really say, but I will say it’s sure to find some fans on home video. If you enjoyed the original film that it’s (loosely) based on you might enjoy it or you might absolutely despise it. It’s a bit of a 50/50 shot here. It does manage to remind us a man in a Santa suit can be frightening — not just to children but to adults as well — especially when he’s carrying an axe around. In regards to weapons used by Santa this time around, one thing I have to say I didn’t dig, as cool as it may have seemed on paper, was the inclusion of a flame thrower. I won’t go into too much detail about the flame thrower aside from mentioning it to avoid any “spoilers” — although I mean shit, c’mon it’s shown on the damn cover art! This was never a weapon used in the 1984 film. I guess they just figured they’d try their best to up the ante so-to-speak and go a bit more over the top in hopes of being controversial. Another thing I strongly disliked here was the fact that in terms of acting the most accomplished member of the cast (Malcolm McDowell) actually proves to have the worst role and lines in the entire film. It’s instead the lead actress Jaime King who proves to have the strongest role and seems to give the best performance.

In conclusion, this film is disturbing but it is nowhere near as fucked up and psychologically disturbing as the 1984 film. It’s pretty sad to say that a 2012 film actually has less nudity in it than a 1984 film but it does include a short bit of female nudity from a very attractive young lady. The amount of gore here proves to be acceptable and much more believable in terms of make-up and special effects. This isn’t by any means a lump of coal, by my standards, but it’s damn sure no diamond either. A few mainstream media critics are already showing seemingly favorable reviews for this flick as you’ll read over at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Silent Night on Blu-ray screenshot

Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. According to the technical specifications listing on IMDb this was shot digitally on the Red Epic camera. This comes with an excellent amount of detail throughout, especially in close-ups. The black level is perfectly solid, fleshtones for the most part are accurate and the color palette is pretty vibrant — behind a cool tone. Speaking of color, it’s obvious that a strong emphasis here is made on the color red because of the Santa suit and blood. The gore really stands out thanks to this being shot digitally and looks pretty intense in Hi-Def. There’s no real visible flaws here to speak of except for maybe a tiny bit of digital noise in some more dim lit scenes. All and all this delivers an impressive Hi-Def visual presentation that is worthy of a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality. I’d like to end by saying that the cinematography here done by DP (director of photography) Joseph White is quite impressive itself and the Blu-ray definitely does it justice.

Silent Night on Blu-ray screenshot

Audio Quality on this release is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound. The film starts out with the original music by Kevin Riepl getting a very nice amount of LFE (bass) as well as ample use of the rear channel speakers. The music and sound effects both are primarily driven from the front left & right channel speakers. The music can be a tad bit subtle at times with the holiday themed songs but for the most part stays pretty suspenseful. Dialogue is distinctly delivered through the center channel speaker and never even comes close to being “drowned out” by any of the music or action. The sound effects can be pretty damn intense at times and definitely set the mood perfectly here in terms of the feel of a horror film. That being said, for this genre of film this totally works and makes for a pretty impressive 5.1 lossless mix that is well worthy of a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.

Silent Night on Blu-ray screenshot

Bonus Materials on this release are ALL presented in full 1080p Hi-Def video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @192kbps sound.

  • Silent Night: Behind The Scenes” (6:14 – HD) includes on set footage but sadly lacks interviews with the cast & crew.
  • Deleted Scenes (4:55 – HD)
  • A DVD of the film in standard definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 @448kbps is included in this “combo pack” release. This disc includes ALL of the bonus materials listed above.

Overall the bonus materials here are way too short. Still, the “behind the scenes” featurette and deleted scenes prove to be worth the watch and it’s nice to see the physical addition of a DVD of the film in standard definition included.


Blu-ray Disc packaging:


Screenshots:

NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.

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