Awesome. 28 years after the original (SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT), this remake takes the slasher film to new heights of gory delight. Fans of the genre will be coughing up blood with rapturous amusement, whether its a small child (made nasty enough to want dead) frothing out her guts, a topless model fruitlessly pleading to be spared from a wood chipper (a scene that makes FARGO look like “Goodnight Moon”), or an axe to the face that collapses the victim’s skull into a red, liquid stew. And as if these giddily portrayed kills weren’t enough, we get a screenplay that’s WAY smarter than it needed to be, providing plummy, rewindable acting moments for at least three side players: a lecherous priest (Curtis Moore), a sour St. Nick (Mike O’Brien), and, best of all, a Bah Humbug-themed jailhouse rant from another suspect Santa that works itself up into an hysterical lather. This is a movie to warm the lumps of coal that substitute for the hearts of Scrooges everywhere. Malcolm McDowell (in the “Donald Pleasance” role) and Jaime King anchor the cast, and although McDowell’s part veers a bit too far into comedy toward the end, the film remains shocking enough to qualify as exploitation — and three cheers for that! — Jeff Schultz
Finally! A remake of a mediocre movie that actually improves on the original! In the first ten minutes, three people have been deemed “naughty”, including a punky little girl, and been disposed of by Santa. What makes this movie so much fun is the way this version builds on the Santa mythology then plays it out in twisted ways. Malcolm McDowell is awesome as the tough talking sheriff who has the best worst lines ever: “big mistake: you brought a flame thrower to a gunfight, you’re just like an avocado on a hamburger.” The original tells us what drove Santa nuts as a kid at the beginning of the movie…this one fills in the backstory at the end. By doing it that way, that makes Santa a WHOLE lot scarier. THIS is why you do a remake: to do what the original didn’t.