As the Christmas-set horror movie is a subgenre to itself by now, it is almost touchingly naive when Silent Night kicks off with a gruesome double murder soundtracked by yuletide standard "Up on the Housetop," as though this juxtaposition is going to seriously blow some minds. A loose remake of 1984's killer-Santa novelty rental Silent Night, Deadly Night, this plodding t-&-a slasher sets St. Nick loose in the dying mill town of Cryer, Wisconsin, 'pon a gray Christmas. A veritable Peyton Place of hypocrisy with a lascivious reverend and its own soft-porn industry, Cryer provides plenty of naughty for Santa to chasten in graphic killings, which are quite evidently the only thing anyone involved in the production has the slightest bit of interest in. Fans of nearly nude women being fed into wood chippers will not go home disappointed (except, very likely, in their hollow lives.) The only thing standing in this gore-specked Kriss Kringle's way is a local deputy (Jaime King) and the town's mysteriously accented sheriff (Malcolm McDowell, diligently searching for a new low). "He's a wolf in sheep's clothing, hiding in plain sight," the sheriff exclaims of his prey, which gives you some idea of the film's abhorrence of cliché. Having established its brand as a seal of no quality, Anchor Bay Films has at last found that most perfectly valueless picture that makes even a child being handed a bloody candy cane boring. Nick Pinkerton
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