Synopsis: A female reporter investigates the death of a woman who, on fire, leapt off of a building to her death. Her investigation leads her to discover the existence of a strange cult dedicated Egyptian god Isis – and the cult wants her as its new queen.
eyelights: Maud Adams.
eyesores: Neith Hunter. its poor man’s Rosemary’s Baby quality.
“You must feed your fears.”
Honestly, I don’t know what the producers of the ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night‘ franchise were thinking. First they squandered all interest that the original spawned by rehashing it in the sequel. Then they followed-it up with a pseudo-science fiction picture. And then, with the fourth installment, they decided to go with a completely unrelated story.
And one that is pretty much unrelated to Christmas, even (aside for taking place at Christmas time, that is).
The filmmakers should have known that this was a dangerous road to traipse on: the Halloween franchise had suffered a significant setback when John Carpenter and Debra Hill decided to do exactly that with ‘Halloween III‘ – it took years for the series to right itself. And this is after two extremely successful and memorable first installments.
…something the ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ series couldn’t possibly boast about.
But there you have it: ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night 4’ follows Kim, an ambitious young wannabe reporter for the L.A. Eye who decides to investigate the death of a young woman, from what seems to be spontaneous combustion. This is unusual enough, but the fact that she plummeted from the top of a small building also piques Kim’s curiosity.
In her research, she finds herself in a bookstore on that block and is befriended by Fima, the owner, who takes to her in more than a friendly way. Soon, Kim is pulled into the inner sanctum of a lesbian cult that wants to free her of the fear that men bring. She is subjected to a few rituals, has countless hallucinations, and is stalked by a homeless person.
And she gives birth to herself (whatever that means).
Honestly, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night 4’ is a real mess: it’s a jumble of incoherent ideas that don’t simply don’t gel.
- Why didn’t anyone trace the first victim to the cult’s leader?
- Why would the cult allow the victim to draw attention to themselves? They could easily have kept things under wraps.
- Why does Kim remind Fima of her daughter so much? And what kind of crazy coincidence is that anyway?
- If Fima thinks of Kim as her daughter’s doppelgänger, then why does she show sexual attraction and then kiss her?
- Why would the cult forcibly try to convert Kim to their ways? What’s the point of initiating someone who doesn’t want to be part of your cult?
- What’s with all the insects? I know they’re creepy, but what do they have to do with a lesbian cult and their rituals?
- If these women loathe men, then why would they make use of a deranged homeless man to do their bidding? In light of how erratic he is, it’s certainly not for his dependability. So what gives?
- How could they erase all traces of the bloody murder of Hank (that includes changing a door, deep cleaning carpet, …etc.) if they couldn’t hide the death of Fima’s daughter on an empty street?
- What does allowing a huge larvae-like creature go through Kim’s abdomen and then get vomitted from her mouth have to do with anything?
- Why would they hide the larvae-like creature in a vent on the roof? And why would the homeless dude show it to Kim early on?
- Why did Kim have coccoon-like legs after the ritual?
- Why was Kim hidden in a meat locker, where she could be found, instead of just keeping her in the apartment they did the ritual in?
- Why does water burn her legs after the ritual?
- Why would they need Lonnie, Hank’s brother, to complete the ritual? Hank wasn’t part of the ritual in the first place, and there’s nothing special about the kid. So why not just grab any other man?
- Why would Kim kidnap Lonnie, but then stop the cult from killing him? Why bother getting him at all?
- Why would the homeless guy stop the cult from harming Kim? They don’t have a bond, and he’s been doing their bidding for so long. So why change his mind now?
I guess it makes sense that it was produced under the banner of the ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ series instead of on its own. If the script had been a masterpiece, it probably would have been produced as a separate, worthwhile entity. But one gets the impression that it was shoehorned into the series merely by setting it at Christmas time.
But you know how Christmasy Los Angeles is, right (Christmas without snow? WTF…)? You can barely tell it’s Christmas.
The storytelling is awkward, the dialogues are ridiculous, and the performances are sometimes stunningly bad. Neith Hunter, who plays Kim, is the worst of the lot, serving up all the subtlety of Madonna: she shouts every line, makes Kim whiny and extremely moody. This petulant child is a very unlikeable lead, and, thus her plight is of no interest.
Sure, kill her off. Do us a favour.
No? Damn you...
The highlight is Maud Adams, who graces the screen with her cool demeanour (except in one moment when Fima is supposed to get impatient with Kim for spilling tea). The lesbian subtext doesn’t hurt. But it’s sad to see her slum it out in such drivel only a few years after her peak in Bond. I guess the curse of being a Bond girl strikes again.
As for Clint Howard as the homeless guy? Well, he’s regularly played bit parts in b-movies, so this picture is not out of character for him. He’s perfectly-suited for it, it’s just that the part is crap. But I was surprised to see Allyce Beasley, who made a name for herself playing Agnes in ‘Moonlighting’, playing Kim’s backstabbing friend.
This “star power” is the only real reason to watch ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation’. And even that’s a questionable motivation. If you want to see ‘Rosemary’s Baby‘, watch Roman Polanski’s creepy masterpiece. If you want to see a Christmas horror film, there are a few to choose from. But, whatever you do, don’t waste 90 minutes on this one.
Date of viewing: November 14, 2015