The sequel to Silent Night, Deadly Night proves that it’s hard to make a psychological horror movie when you don’t have the slightest understanding of human emotions.
This film, of course, is famous for its ‘Garbage Day!‘ quote; but I think the more iconic scene, the one that really exemplifies the movie as a whole comes about a minute earlier. Rickey (the younger brother of the killer from the first film) kills the ex-boyfriend of his girlfriend Jennifer in a rather colorful way. She starts screaming that she hates him, and Ricky turns to her, eyes squinting, and says ‘punish!’ Jennifer responds with a very audible ‘gulp,’ then says ‘uh oh,’ before running away. It’s like the writer, director, and actor all got their understanding of human reactions from an episode of Scooby Doo.
And before you ask, no, this movie is not a parody, it’s not satire, it just sucks. As proof, I’ll point out the fact that forty-plus minutes of this film’s 89 minute running time is comprised on footage from the first film (it’s presented as Ricky tells his psychiatrist about his brother’s crimes. Apparently, Ricky was omnipresent as a child, as he is able to call up flashbacks that he couldn’t possibly have been a witness to).
The bigger problem, though, is the character of Ricky. In SN,DN, we had a protagonist with a Santa Claus phobia brought on by a childhood trauma. In SN,DN 2, we have a guy that’s evil for no concrete reason and who laughs like a Vaudevillian villain. Much like the characterization we saw with Jennifer, Ricky is the cartoon version of a psychopath. It’s wildly over-acted, like an amateur at an improv class was instructed to ‘be crazy,’ and then failed miserably. It’s no wonder the star, Eric Freeman hasn’t made a career for himself in the industry. The wikipedia article on the actor includes the line ‘In 2004, the directors of Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 tried to find him for the commentary track of the DVD release, but they were unable to track him down. Freeman’s current whereabouts remain a mystery.‘
Anyway, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is one of those sequels that actually retroactively harms the movie that proceeded it. It’s just really, really badly made. It’s obvious that this was just a cash-in; made mostly of old footage, with just enough cheaply produced new material to justify (barely) calling it a new film. The only reason to get this movie is because it’s in a two disc set with the superior original.