“Nell, Simon, and their son Art are ready to welcome friends and family for what promises to be a perfect Christmas gathering. Perfect except for one thing: everyone is going to die.” – IMDB
I only saw the trailer for Silent Night about three weeks ago. I was shocked that I hadn’t heard about it sooner considering how many excellent actors, including my much-loved Keira Knightley, filled the screen. The trailer hints at the film being a black-comedy, set at Christmas, in which the protagonists appear to be facing some impending apocalyptic doom. The trailer ticked so many boxes for me, that I was counting down the days until I could see it.
So, I rented the movie, turned off the lights, and settled in with a warm blanket and cup of cocoa for what I was sure would be a pleasant, if not a bit frightful, watch. Two hours later, the movie wrapped and my husband and I were left staring blankly at one another, rushing to put on something more joyful in order to wash away the feeling of emptiness that consumed us. Let me clarify…
The film begins with a group of friends, including their children, gathering for Christmas. To be honest, the beginning of the film is delightful and fun. Christmas music everywhere, swearing children, a lovely British countryside house, attractive people in beautiful outfits, and a frankness between these friends and families that makes the banter between them all fun and refreshing to watch. However, we quickly begin to learn more about this impending apocalypse. An inescapable poisonous gas cloud which has already killed millions, or even billions, around the world. The only way out: painless suicide by a government-distributed pill.
Thus, we plunge into the overt politics of the movie. It is in no way the politics that I take issue within this film; however, the timing of this film’s release is unfortunate in my opinion. I’m sure the filmmakers would argue that there is not better time for audiences to face discussions such as climate change, trust in government, and overall human rights. However, we as an audience are exhausted. WE KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING! WE’RE LIVING IT! GIVE US A BREAK! And a quick side note: if the filmmakers are pro-Covid vaccinations, their clear distrust of government-distributed medications is not helping that cause.
Not only are we exhausted and don’t want to face this doomsday scenario that is far too close to our own situation, but we sure as hell don’t want to see families deciding if they want to end their lives or not. Especially little children. I find it very uncomfortable to know that the director of this movie included her three sons (including Roman Griffin Davis of my beloved Jojo Rabbit) in this film which very much deals with their character’s impending doom.
It’s also worth noting that if you are looking to make a horror film, DO NOT SHOW THE MONSTER/ENEMY/VILLAIN/CATASTROPHE! It is so much more impactful to leave it to the audience’s imagination. SIGNS ANYONE?!
I get where this movie was trying to go and it honestly bums me out that I didn’t enjoy it, because it had such potential; however, it ended up being a bleak movie in a bleak time. And that’s not the movie-going experience that I’m currently looking for. Bah humbug.
Rating: 5 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: The Cornetto Trilogy
Streaming: Available to purchase or rent
With: Matthew Goode, Keira Knightley, Roman Griffin Davis
Directed By: Camille Griffin