The abandoned home of Wilfred Butler, a wealthy but troubled man who committed suicide in 1987, has been willed to his grandson, Jeffrey. The house has sat in disarray since Wilfred's death, standing in the way of developers who want to turn the property into residential homes. Just before Christmas 2012, many years after Wilfred's death, Jeffrey and his lawyer appear in town to negotiate the sale of the property. But an axe wielding maniac has set up residence in the house, and he doesn't take kindly to strangers.
- Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming review by NP
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You rated this film: 3
As titles go, this isn’t one that trips of the tongue. The awkwardness continues throughout this low-budget would-be slasher, with variable acting and sound design. The opening moments, there to lure in the viewer, are amongst the least effective thanks to some artless CGI and mismatched sound dubbing.
Things pick up a little after the effective opening credits have rolled. One of the reasons I often enjoy low-budget productions is that they use, out of necessity at times, inventing ways of telling a story that negates the need for flashy effects. Such is the case here, with some interesting direction and camera angles used to partially obscure the details of some of the gory moments – of which there many. Much of the action takes place without dialogue, which adds an extra sinister layer to events.
This seems to be James Plumb’s project; he is credited as director and writer, but as the film is often a scene-by-scene recreation of a 1972 American horror, Plumb’s is a pretty ambitious claim. Discrepancies occur – the nicely seedy Wilfred Butler dies and leaves his house to grandson Jeffrey. When we meet Jeffrey, he immediately makes a bad impression – perhaps that is the point, inviting us to believe he is the masked, brutal killer who is this film’s violent protagonist. And Jeffrey is just a petulant boor with no charm whatsoever. When the killer is revealed to be Wilfred (not dead after all), we are left to wonder how old this man actually is, and how he manages to physically assault and kill so many people.
This is a fairly interesting, if mangled film in which the often underwritten characters’ sole purpose is the brief lead-up to their own murder.