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Silent Night, Zombie Night

USA 2009
produced by
Sean Cain, Wes Laurie, Mary Laurie (executive) for Velvet Hammer Films, ArsonCuff Entertainment
directed by Sean Cain
starring Jack Forcinito, Andy Hopper, Nadine Stenovitch, Lew Temple, Vernon Wells, Felissa Rose, Timothy Muskatell, Luke Y.Thompson, Sara Tomko, Ricardo Gray, John Karyus, Jimmy Williams, Domiziano Arcangeli, Chris Gabriel, Krisondra Daigneault, Melanie Doyle, Jordan Lawson, Sean Gordon, Jason Passama, Matt Cain, Shelli Merrill, Bill Snyder, Brianna Avendano, Brian Bosen, Shawn Carlow, Dave Corsile, Bryan Coyne, Sean Decker, Diana de Mol, Erick Feigin, Megan Frances, Elizabeth Leigh Frazer, Chad Clinton Freeman, Geri Gilmore, Derek Houck, Margaret Jefferson, Kai Lanette, Wes Laurie, Chad Meisenheimer, Jesse Lee Nunn, Brandy Perry, Roland Pogosan, Shane Ryan, Aramis Sartorio, Dylan Shults, Tristian Shults, Linda Slade, Tess Thomas, Edward Tubbs, James Tubbs, Mariel Villavicencio, Victoria Bouett, Nadia Guardado, Tatiana Prieto, T.J. Roe, Reena Rexrode, Doug Jones
written by Sean Cain, music by Mario Salvucci, special effects by Tom Devlin/1313 FX

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Cops, lifelong friends and partners Frank (Jack Forcinito) and Nash (Andy Hopper) have a fall-out, mainly because Frank, when drunk the other night, has beaten up Nash, and because he suspects Nash to have an affair with his wife Sarah (Nadine Stenovitch). Of course, they have picked the very worst time to have their little fall-out, because zombies are about to take over the city, zombies that eat and kill the living (preferably in that order), and whose bite is highly infectuous and turns the victim into a zombie himself within minutes. And while Frank and Nash are still busy sorting out their issues, Nash is bitten by a zombie. Now Frank is pissed off concerning Nash's behavious, but he's still friend enough to drag him to safety, to Nash's house that's just around the corner, to burn out the wound and keep the infection from spreading.

However, at Nash's house, Frank is in for another shock: His wife, with a few bags she calls her own, seems to have found abode there. This only ignites Frank's feeling of jealousy (and can you blame him?), and it takes Sarah quite some time to convince him she never had an affair with Nash, left Frank only because he was an asshole, and only ended up at Nash's place because she had nowhere else to go.

Eventually, Frank finds out that the zombies react only to scent, and he uses a hunters' spray to render himself scentless and scout the neighbourhood - and soon enough, he meets Jeff (Lew Temple), a living human being who hides up in his attic and who acts a bit weird - but wouldn't we all in a situation like this?

While Frank is out, Nash comes to, and since he is still in no condition to do anything, he and Sarah get drunk, and in his drunken state, he confesses his love to Sarah, and the two end up kissing each other.

It's only the next morning that Nash feels fit enough to do some scouting himself, and he eventually makes it to Jeff's house - where he is shot in the head by Frank, who was mistaking him for a zombie. It certainly wasn't what he was planning to do, as he's no killer, but after their recent fall-out he's not too sorry either.

Once Frank has made it back to Sarah, they soon bump into Paul (Vernon Wells) and Elsa (Felissa Rose), two mercenaries-out-of-necessity who offer to drive them to a safe haven. Sarah and Frank are grateful, and Frank also direct them to Jeff's place - where Paul and Elsa walk into an ambush and while Paul is killed Elsa only just makes it back to Frank and Sarah, but Frank doesn't trust her anymore and cuffs her to the bathroom window to see whether or not she is going to turn into a zombie.

Nash hasn't died though and has been brought up to the attic by Jeff and nursed back to health, and after Jeff is killed in the next zombie attack, Nash decides it is time to settle the score with Frank once and for all. He finally catches up with Frank after fighting his way through hordes of zombies, but when they prepare to duel each other, they are interrupted by a particularly nasty zombie - and have to realize they have both run out of ammunition. So they have to tackle the zombie mano a mano ...

When Sarah catches up with Frank and Nash, she finds them both on the verge of turning into zombies. Sure, they have killed their zombie attacker, but not before he has bitten them both - and now Sarah has to kill the two men who have loved her in order to save them and herself ...

 

Zombie movies in recent years have become even more clichéed than they ever were, little more than hommages to the genre classics that take their audience to the slaughterhouse and back, with little new to offer and following a formula so rigid that one starts to wonder if there ever will be another way to tell the same story. Not that all zombiefilms of late are necessarily bad, they are just overly formulaic and not too inventive.

And then Silent Night, Zombie Night comes along and proves to be the exception to the rule and evidence that there is still fresh blood in the genre: The point here is that Silent Night, Zombie Night has an actual story to tell that goes beyond the dead attack and humankind fights for survival, that is carried by strong characters rather than gore effects (though there is plenty of those as well), and that - just like all the better zombie-films since the original Night of the Living Dead - doesn't bore the audience with another cheesy zombie origin-tale. Add to this a competent cast, and a compact, no-nonsense directorial effort that relies on tension, suspense and atmosphere, and you've got one of the most original zombie flicks that was made in the last 10 years, at least.

Recommended.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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