Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming (2013)
SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT: THE HOMECOMING
WRITERS: James Plumb & Andrew Jones
DIRECTOR: James Plumb
STARRING: Mel Stevens as Diane Adams
Alan Humphreys as Jeffrey Butler
Philip Harvey as Wilfred Butler
Victor Ptak as Mayor Adams
Rosemary Smith as Tess Howard
Gary Knowles as Mason
Simon Riordan as The Figure/Patterson
Ceri Mears as Woronov
Adrienne King as "The Stranger"
QUICK CUT: A young man returns to his old family home for the first time in decades, and catches up with old friends and enemies.
Jeffrey - A young man with a bad reputation, thanks to his family history and his own actions. A bit jumpy, and both too trusting and not trusting enough.
Diane - A young woman who works at the local newspaper, is the daughter of the mayor, and Jeff’s love interest.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Merry Triskmas, everyone! It's the holidays, and I'm taking things easy, and finally getting back to a movie I've been meaning to circle around to for a few years. A bit ago, I took a look at the 1970s Silent Night Bloody Night, and I always intended to get back to the remake. Well, that time is now! And there are large swaths of plot that are the same, so while this isn't QUITE like reviewing Psycho and the remake, it comes close.
In theory, that should make this an easy review to get through, but the differences are striking. So let's unwrap this gift and see what we got!
The remake definitely starts out the same, as a man comes up to the old Butler mansion, and a flaming corpse topples down from above and lands at his feet.
And we continue with the same setup of the reading of William Butler’s will leaving the house to his son Jeffrey, and we then jump ahead 25 some odd years, to a mental institute, where a bored guard is killing time before he can leave.
But suddenly a plastic bag is wrapped around his face as an escaping patient decides to do a little murder on the way out. And this goes on for way too long. But hey, at least stuff is happening!
The plot then jumps to a guy in a Santa suit driving home, who decides to stop and check out a car seat along the side of the road. He should have known that was a bad idea, as he discovers it's filled with offal, causing Santa to throw up his milk and cookies.
Our bad guy comes along and proceeds to curbstomp Santa's face into the ground, and takes his car.
Finally we get back to the Butler house, with the lawyer arriving to get the house ready, meeting the caretaker who is in remarkable shape for 25 years having passed, and the plot begins to take more familiar notes. The lawyer visits the town council, sets things up, etc etc.
Also, this movie's favourite form of scene transition is to do a screen wipe, from side to side, or top to bottom, and ohhh these are going to get so annoying.
Oh, and also I am disappointed there is zero John Carradine standin who doesn't speak and only dings a bell. Remake fail.
Meanwhile, some random couple finds their way to the Butler house so the guy can sex up his girlfriend. Oh yeah, just what every girl wants to do.
The murder spree keeps going, as the girl goes to take a shower in the abandoned house, and the killer strangles the guy with a strand of lights. When she returns, she joins her boyfriend with a...I think a chair leg to the mouth, it happens very fast.
I THINK this is a big difference from the original. I'm too lazy to do my due diligence and rewatch it right now, but I don't recall two randos getting offed.
What I DO recall however, is the lawyer settling in with his girlfriend, in the same house, and getting murdered. Sadly, it doesn't come off as well as the first movie, where it felt like your leads were suddenly stripped away 20 minutes into the movie.
Meanwhile, Diane Adams, now working at the newspaper, gets a call from the Mysterious Voice talking about Jeffrey and claiming to be Mary Anne, supposedly his mother who died.
The sheriff gets a call from the killer, telling him about the deaths at the Butler house, so he goes to check it out. Which still ends in a very similar demise from the original.
"Mary Anne" calls Tess at the paper, and lures her to the house as well, and again, also very similar.
Also, I sure hope you like the song Silent Night, because that appears to be the only music this movie has in its toolbelt!
Finally, Jeffrey Butler arrives into the plot after 37 minutes. He stumbles into Diane's house, which is pretty bloody random. They do drop the nod to him being in a mental institution, but this time around, it never feels like he's a suspect.
Diane offers to give the mental patient stranger who barged into her house a ride up to his home, because that's perfectly safe.
But before we can get to the house, we sideline back to the newspaper, so we can do some research and fill in the backstory.
Meanwhile, the mayor arrives home and sees Diane is missing, and gets his own creepy phone call. He quickly rushes to the Butler mansion as well.
Jeff finds the script to the original movie, er I mean, his grandfather's journal at the house, and it fills in the rest of the same backstory. Including that Jeff's grandfather is also his father father.
It's strange how this movie has so many of the same plot points, but is doing a poor job in conveying them or using them properly. Something is lacking that I can't quite put my finger on. Everything just lays there flat, and doesn’t seem to be important.
And in yet another example of this movie having a long, drawn out scene, during the flashbacks we watch from the camera's PoV as it sits on the floor of the mansion, and lots and lots of people just walk by. And nothing else. Doooo something.
We get the asylum dinner party massacre redux, and how Butler the senior didn't really die, that wasn't his flaming body, and he somehow got committed to an insitution himself. I guess the family that crazes together stays together.
Also, there is no implication that the escaped patients became the people who ran the town? That ws one of the more interesting plot points.
Jeff is shook by this news, so it's a good thing he had a gun sitting right next to him as he ponders just ending the plot right here.
And just like the first movie, Mayor Daddy arrives, concerned about his daughter, and the strange man with the gun ranting next to her. He gets shot, and then shoots Jeff, keeping their plot destiny on track.
That's when Mystery Voice arrives, and gasp surprise, it's Grandpa Butler with his daughter's voice for the moment...and how is there nearly 20 minutes still left?? This should be just about over, right??
Diane escapes the house and runs, and is this SERIOUSLY going to be a 15 minute chase scene to wrap this movie up??
Not quite, but damned freakin' close, because Diane does eventually stop the caretaker as he's driving up, and he drives her to safety. Or not, because I have seen too many movies to know this is gonna end well.
Gasp surprise, I was right, as she gets knocked out, and we return right back to the Butler estate. So that was a fun seven minute plot cul de sac.
Diane awakens handcuffed to a chair, with the caretaker, gramps, and dead Jeffrey getting ready to eat Christmas dinner. This whole section is the biggest plot divergence, as the caretaker is brought into the plot, and again this should have ended ten minutes ago.
The girl tries to appeal to gramps, trying to trick him by claiming to be Mary Anne, to be treated better and released, but it doesn't work. She eventually cuts her wrists to use the blood to squeeze free of the cuffs.
Speaking of Bane, if you thought he was tough to understand in Dark Knight Rises, you are gonna LOVE Butler's voice in this! It sounds like an adult on Charlie Brown.
But the mask serves no purpose, he removes it just fine, and sounds perfectly normal. Up until this point, they've been shooting around showing his face, so why bother with the mask ANYways?
The caretaker tries to convince gramps that she's not Mary Anne, and says a few too many bad things, and gets strangled.
Diane grabs the axe, does in Butler, and makes her escape AGAIN into the ending we should have had in the first place.
That was a wildly unnecessary addition to the plot.
Video: It looks good, but it also looks really cheap. And is sometimes too dark.
Audio: Well, aside from the voice of Butler Senior, it sounds fine.
Body Count: Well at least there’s plenty of death to keep me entertained.
1 - Flamimg corpse hits the ground a few minutes in.
2 - Orderly gets suffocated
3 - A Santa gets murdered
4 - Guy choked with Christmas lights
5 - Girl gets killed with a...chair leg? To the mouth??
6 - Lawyer gets axed
7 - And then his girlfriend
8 - Police chief gets shoveled in the face.
9 - Tess gets her throat slit
10 - The hospital party massacre
11 - Jeff accidentally shoots the mayor
12 - And then the mayor shoots Jeff
13 - Groundskeeper gets choked to death
14 - Butler gets an axe to the back thanks to the girl
Best Corpse: A double shot award goes for the lawyer and his girlfriend. That’s nicely bloody and brutal.
Blood Type - B: A nice amount, but room for improvement.
Sex Appeal: Huh. You know, I don’t remember any boobs.
Drink Up! every time you see a silly wipe.
Movie Review: Well, it IS very much the same movie as the original, with some added bodies, a slightly more streamlined plot, and some additions. But this just does not work for me. Anything interesting from the first movie just lays there lifeless in this movie. It’s lacking something, like I said. Also, the qurikiness is lost too. Two out of five mouth speakers for at least being put together well enough.
Entertainment Value: Losing that quirkiness, and a lot of scenes that just go on and on really keep this from being terribly entertaining. It’s lifeless and bland. For every possible reason, just go rewatch the original. Two out of five flaming bodies.