Description from Netflix:
When two cops investigate a horrific mass homicide at a motel on Christmas Eve, they realize there's a psycho killer disguised as Santa on the loose. Problem is, tonight's the annual Santa costume contest, and nearly every guy in town has dressed up.
Notable actors: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, Lisa Marie
As this blog has shown time and time again, I love horror movies. I love bad horror movies. I also love seasonal (say, Christmas) movies. I have also seen the original film (1984's Silent Night, Deadly Night), and somewhat recently at that. All that being said, I should've been the target audience for this movie.
And, sadly, I didn't love it.
I really wanted to. It's a killer Santa Claus. He murders with axes, scythes, flamethrowers, and whatever sharp object happens to be close at the time. He kills those who are "naughty". Luckily for him, this small town in Wisconsin (Cryer, I believe) is full of terrible people. A pervy priest. Slutty teenagers. A softcore pornographer. Countless drug dealers and murders. And so on.
So why didn't I love it? Perhaps it was precisely because I watched the original fairly recently. The original was enjoyable mostly because of its campy nature, but partially due to the killer himself. We saw why he became a murdering psychopath. Now, I'm not one who needs an explanation for why these killers become killers (one of my all-time favorite horror movies is Halloween, which gives very little explanation as to why Michael Myers kills), but the original handled it pretty well and it made sense. You don't really get any of that here. There's a part at the end that explains it, but even that isn't great. I felt a bit of empathy for the killer in the original. Even after finding out why he kills, I felt absolutely no empathy for this killer. The reasons were completely different.
There were a few nods to the original (the crazy, thought-to-be-catatonic grandfather saying, "You see Santa tonight, you better run. Run for your life!"), but, for the most part, this can be considered a remake only because Santa kills people. There aren't many other similarities. Where the original followed Billy (the murderer), this movie followed Aubrey (the cop). In fact, in this movie, Santa barely talks. I think he says 1 word the entire movie.
Again, that's not saying that a silent killer is a boring killer. Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees both managed to be interesting without saying much. But this Santa just felt dull. I didn't care about him. I didn't even care about most of the characters (although I did want to see Aubrey survive, so that's something).
I was also rooting for Knives Chau. Because I love her.
It just felt like a lazy movie. Like the director said, "Hey, I should make a movie where Santa kills lots of terrible people," without putting a lot of thought into it. No real characters to speak of. A character who's sole purpose seemed to be putting our final girl into terrible situations (this was the Sheriff, and he was played by Malcolm McDowell). Characters like that are the laziest way to build suspense and drama. I always resent these characters, regardless of who plays them.
All in all, it was not a great movie. There were some enjoyable scenes, but, overall, it just wasn't great. If you really want to see Santa killing people in terrible ways, then you may be interested in this. But, even then, I would tell you to go back and watch the original. There are more laughs in that one, at the very least.
Of course, this movie has Jaime King...