Movie Review: “Silent Night” 

December 4, 2021

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Silent Night (U.K., 2021) is a gut punch of a film. What seems to be a traditional British Christmas gathering of family, friends, and frenemies turns into a harrowing ordeal that plays on emotions in a taut, chilling manner, with dark humor added to the mix to make matters even more mind-boggling.

Nell (Keira Knightly) and her husband Simon (Matthew Goode), parents of eldest son Art (Roman Griffin Davis) and their younger twins Thomas (Gilby Griffin Davis) and 

and Hardy (Hardy Griffin Davis), host a Christmas fest for a diverse bunch. Nell’s stuffy sister Sandra (Annabelle Wallis) and her kinder, gentler husband Tony (Rufus Jones) arrive with their mordant young daughter Kitty (Davida McKenzie); Nell’s other sister Bella (Lucy Punch) brings along unsuspecting significant other Alex (Kirby Howell-Baptiste); and longtime friend from school days James (Sope Dirusu) arrives with younger girlfriend Sophie (Lily-Rose Depp). While the adults bicker and open up both new and festering older wounds, the children run around with potty mouths and horrible attitudes. The humor comes mostly at the discomfort of one character or another.

Writer/director Camille Griffin introduces viewers to this cast of characters, none of whom are easy to warm up to, before peeling back layers that clue us into the dreadful experience that they are all sharing — which I won’t spoil in this review; I recommend going in as cold as possible to Silent Night to let its dark wonders work on you at the pace Griffin intended. The horror isn’t of the supernatural or stalk-and-slash type; rather, it springs from coming to terms with a certain fate and how the decisions surrounding that affect everyone involved.

The ensemble cast members all give strong performances, delivering the razor-sharp lines from Griffin’s sardonic screenplay with aplomb. Griffin’s direction is terrific. 

Silent Night may not be a Christmas horror film that you revisit every holiday season, but it is certain to give viewers much to chew on this year. 

 

AMC+ and RLJE Films will release the darkly comedic drama/horror Silent Night in theaters and streaming exclusively on AMC+ on December 3, 2021.

 

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