Review: Silent Night, Bloody Night – The Homecoming / Cert: 18 /Director: James Plumb / Screenplay: James Plumb, Andrew Jones / Starring: Alan Humphreys, Melanie Stevens, Victor Ptak, Gary Knowles, Rosemary Smith / Release Date: Out Now
This is a Starburst public service announcement. Should you be tempted by the alluring DVD cover of Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming – a masked, knife-wielding figure outside a gloomy, snow-covered old house – remember that once you’ve watched the film itself you will never get back the seventy-eight minutes of your life you wasted on it. Ever. End of public service announcement…
Brought to you by the stumbling amateurs who created last year’s appalling zombie horror (in every sense of the word) Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection, Silent Night, Bloody Night also riffs off a public domain horror title (1974’s barely-remembered Silent Night, Bloody Night) by remaking it without a word of acknowledgement or reference to the original. We’d like to think there’s an element of embarrassment involved; the original is hardly regarded as classic (despite the presence of genre favourite John Carradine), but this remake, far from being the “chilling, relentless horror ride” promised by an over-enthusiastic cover blurb, is actually shockingly shoddy, badly directed and populated by a cast who can surely only have been dragged off the streets of Swansea (the film was shot in and around South Wales) with the promise of a nice cup of tea and a biscuit for their trouble.
The plot – let’s be generous here – concerns a spooky old house once owned by the Butler family whose patriarch committed suicide in 1987. Twenty-five years later, the crumbling building is attracting the attention of various nocturnal visitors and even a potential purchaser; but unbeknownst to them all, a shadowy figure is in residence and he don’t like strangers round 'ere. Much poorly filmed bloodletting ensues, but the only real horror is the realisation that someone was stupid enough to offer up their loose change to fund this shamefully ramshackle mess. The film’s digital photography makes it look horribly cheap and nasty; the image is dull, flat and lifeless and director Plumb proves yet again that he has little visual flair or particular aptitude for directing (and let’s not get started on the co-written script), so it’s hard not to wonder why he keeps on trying. The camera’s rarely pointing in the right direction when the violence takes place and the already sluggish pace grinds to a standstill with the onset of a voice-over tortuously detailing the backstory with about as much passion and enthusiasm as the bloke who reads out the football results.
A thoroughly wretched experience and a worthless movie, the best we can suggest for this Christmas-set turkey is that you might want to pick up a copy or two to hand out to people you really detest and watch the blood drain from their faces at the prospect of watching it.
Extras: Director/ Producer commentary