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Movie review: 'Silent Night' drips with Santa's naughty side

November 29, 2012|By Gary Goldstein
  • Jaime King in "Silent Night."
Jaime King in "Silent Night." (Rebecca Sandulak / Anchor…)

Talk about a bad Santa. In the mechanically effective horror thriller "Silent Night," said to be "loosely based" on 1984's apparently reboot-worthy "Silent Night, Deadly Night," a psycho in a creepy St. Nick costume goes on a murderous Christmas Eve rampage in small town Cryer, Wisc.

The movie's intended audience will likely be satisfied by its parade of gory mayhem, cheap thrills and groan-worthy dark humor. Everyone else: You're on your own.

The logic-challenged story finds Cryer's earnest deputy sheriff, Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King), in the midst of a mounting body count as sinners, saints and anyone in between land at the wrong end of Santa's weapon of choice (ax, flamethrower, stuffed moose head, you name it; a grisly wood chipper scene rivals the one from "Fargo").

Unfortunately, Aubrey, who's tentative and haunted by past events, may not be up to going toe-to-toe with the various Santa-suited suspects — some of whom are crazy angry — hanging around town for the annual holiday parade.

As a result, Aubrey's nasty boss, the ridiculously unprofessional Sheriff Cooper (a miscast, over-the-top Malcolm McDowell) takes charge, but it's easy to predict where this guy's hair-trigger involvement will lead.

Director Steven C. Miller, working off Jayson Rothwell's pedestrian script, keeps the action apace, gleefully letting the blood spurt and limbs fly. Happy holidays.

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"Silent Night." MPAA rating: R for bloody violence, some sexuality and nudity, language and brief drug use. Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes. At Regency's Plant 16, Van Nuys; AMC's Orange 30, Orange.

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