So, we’re back in the mountains of Utah on Christmas, along with the J&B whiskey-swilling denizens of Ira’s toy store, Saint Mary’s Home for Orphaned Boys and of course, its wheelchair-bound matriarch Mother Superior in this inferior sequel.
You see, the first 40 minutes of Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is practically identical to the first movie. It’s simply flashbacks recounted by Ricky (the younger sibling to murderer Billy from the first movie) to a psychiatrist.
He’s locked up in a mental hospital telling of his terrible upbringing and his being set off by the color red. And speaking of which, you’d need deep sea fishing tackle to reel in this red herring: Ricky is traumatized by and relives the deaths of his parents at the hands of a roadside Santa Claus in movie 1, but he was an infant in a car seat when they were gunned down!
We’re forced to believe he would suffer post-traumatic stress from an event he could neither see, nor remember. Whoops. Stockings full of charcoal all around. The producers/directors admit as much in the extras, joking that for a kid of six month’s old, he sure has a killer memory.
Anyway, in his defence, as a boy living at the same orphanage that raised him and his brother, Ricky was subjected to both pretty bad acting as well as severe corporal punishment. That would set anyone off.
In the first movie, Mother Superior tied little Billy to his bed when he suffered nightmares and she had no compunction getting out a belt when kids were (and this is the movie’s catchword) “naughty!” We can only guess little Ricky got the same treatment.
Halfway through, the filmmakers offer us the courtesy of new material, including Ricky being adopted by a Jewish family (in Utah???) and growing up into a bitter busboy dishwasher who murders an Italian mobster (in Utah???) he sees beating a victim who owes gambling debts (in Utah???). He also attends a date night screening of a Santa Claus horror, surprise surprise, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Jeez, wasn’t it enough that half the movie is a flashback now there has to be a movie-within-a-movie?
While those tidbits are hard to swallow, much can be forgiven for truly one of the more unique horror movie deaths we’ve ever seen (and this from a movie that already used deer antlers as an unorthodox weapon). Ricky skewers Rocco the mob bag-man with an umbrella and even unfurls it! Holy Mary Poppins that’s simply fantastic and puts this in 2.5 star territory instead of 2.
The body count (26 in total, so sayeth the film makers) begins to rise as Ricky is set off by the death of his stepdad. LA Weekly said of the first one that it was the product of a “diseased mind” but this sequel was more the product of a cynical one; a miniscule budgeted, half-a-movie passed off as new three years after the release of its notorious predecessor.
**1/2 (out of 5)