A mysterious man dresses in a Santa Claus suit, complete with a mask. Once dressed, "Santa" captures and kills Jordan (Brendan Fehr), a police officer in the small town of Cryer, Wisconsin. Jordan is sleeping with a married woman and is electrocuted with Christmas lights in his home. The following day, Christmas Eve, the Sheriff of Cryer, Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell), calls Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King) in on her day off when Jordan doesn't arrive at work. Aubrey is a new addition to the police force, and is still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband John. She doesn't think she's a good officer as she is trying to live up to her father, who is a retired cop. Aubrey was going to spend the holiday with her parents but instead goes out to check on Jordan, finding his mangled body and the hacked up bits of his lover later in the day.
Meanwhile, the masked Santa killer goes on a murder spree, killing those who have done something he considers 'naughty.' His next victim is a bratty teenage girl who he kills with a taser, then he makes his way to the local motel, murdering a group of people during a softcore porn shoot. One woman manages to escape and tries to hide inside a Christmas Tree farm, but the killer chops off one of her legs and throws her feet-first into a woodchipper. Sheriff Cooper calls in other officers and goes out to find the killer himself, but comes back empty handed. Aubrey starts to suspect Santa Jim (Donal Logue), a local drunken Santa portrayer and the creepy Reverend Madely.
That evening, during the town's annual Christmas parade, Aubrey searches for the killer, but is unable to identify him among a crowd of men dressed in Santa Claus suits. The killer Santa continues on his spree, murdering the corrupt Mayor Revie and his porn star daughter. Reverend Madely is also killed. Aubrey, along with the station secretary Brenda (Ellen Wong), are cornered by the killer inside the police station, where the killer tries to burn down the place with a homemade flamethrower. Aubrey is able to overpower the killer Santa and sets him on fire, but in the end he manages to escape.
It is later revealed that the killer Santa is Ronald Jones Jr., owner of a local chimney cleaning and repair service, and he survived the flamethrower attack. During the hunt for the killer, Aubrey learns from another Santa portrayer that Ronald Sr. had crashed his ex-wife's Christmas party many years ago, burning her alive with the homemade flamethrower. Aubrey's father was the police officer that responded to the situation and gunned him down, only to find out that Ronald Jr. was in his father's truck watching the entire time. The tragedy caused Ronald Jr. to go insane and seek revenge, dressing as Santa so he would not get caught during Cryer's Christmas festivities.Malcolm McDowell as Sheriff James Cooper
Jaime King as Aubrey Bradimore
Donal Logue as Santa Jim Epstein
Ellen Wong as Brenda
Lisa Marie as Mrs. Hilary Morwood
Courtney-Jane White as Tiffany Revie
Cortney Palm as Maria
John B. Lowe as Mr. Bradimore
Rick Skene as Ronald Jones Jr.
Brendan Fehr as Deputy Kevin Jordan
Andrew Cecon as Deputy Stanley Giles
Aaron Hughes as Frank Forester
Kelly Wolfman as Goldie Willis
Laura Cartlidge as Morwood Girl
Mike O'Brien as Stein Karsson
Kristen Sawatzky as Jane Jones
Erik J. Berg as Dennis
Ali Tataryn as Alana Roach
Curtis Moore as Reverend Madeley
Adriana O'Neil as Mrs. Bradimore
Lane Styles as Mindy Lu
Distributed by Anchor Bay, the film was released in theaters for a limited run in select cities on November 30, 2012 and then on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, on December 4.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 64% fresh based on reviews from 11, with a rating average of 6.1/10. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score based on reviews from mainstream critics, awarded the film an average score of 53/100 based on 4 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".
The Los Angeles Times wrote that "The movie's intended audience will likely be satisfied by its parade of gory mayhem, cheap thrills and groan-worthy dark humor. Everyone else: You're on your own" while The Hollywood Reporter called the film a "cinematic lump of coal" and a "formulaic effort". Variety felt that the film was "a singularly glum and dumb enterprise" and concluded "apart from some modestly inventive carnage and an undeniably humorous hambone turn by Malcolm McDowell, there's really nothing here to make genre fans dash through the snow".
Silent Night was met with mostly positive reception from several horror film sites, such as Slasher Studios ("It might not be everyone's cup of egg nog but for what it's worth it is definitely worth a look") and Oh, The Horror! ("it's one of the better recent remakes"). Bloody Disgusting gave a score of three and a half out of five, writing "While Silent Night does not add anything new to the subgenre, it delivers the ho ho horror with its spectacular kills and tongue-in-cheek humor. This is a fun film that is bound to spread some holiday cheer in the hearts' of slasher fans" and Fearnet stated "this straightforward and scrappy little remake is somehow more entertaining than half of what passes for "wide release" horror movies these days. Toss in some fine cinematography, some cool musical touches, and just enough "in jokes" to keep the hardcore horror fans happy, Silent Night certainly isn't great, but it is consistently fun, and that's more than enough—especially for a horror remake."
Silent Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the soundtrack album for the movie, released on November 25, 2012 under the record label Pale Blue Records. The music was composed by Kevin Riepl.