Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: You Better Watch Out! (1989)

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: You Better Watch Out!

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Ricky Caldwell, the notorious Santa suit wearing killer, was gunned down and killed in a police shoot-out six years ago…. Or so everyone thought. Unbeknownst to the general populace, Ricky was saved and revived by Dr. Newbury. Now in a perpetual coma, Ricky has since been the subject of Dr. Newbury’s various psychic experiments, all in the doctor’s efforts to try to understand why he turned into a murdering madman. But Ricky isn’t the only one unwittingly involved in the doctor’s experimentation. He’s also dragged in a young, clairvoyant blind woman named Laura into his studies. Using Laura’s dreams, Newbury has been trying to make psychic contact with Ricky’s mind. So far he’s only seen minimal success, but that changes on Christmas Eve when Ricky unexpectedly wakes up. Still psychically drawn to Laura, Ricky follows the young woman and her brother to their grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve, leaving a trail of bloody corpses in his wake.

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Considering how wildly different the last two entries were to one another, I really didn’t know what to expect going into the third movie in the series. After realizing that almost half of the second film was comprised almost entirely of reused footage from the first film, I’ll admit I had my concerns. But thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be a problem with this film. While the movie does still have a couple of flashbacks, they end up being blissfully short, and rather than just once again trying to re-cut the first film to make a story, instead the filmmakers of Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 actually decided to give us a whole new movie. It’s just a shame it ended up being such a boring one.

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Dear diary, this is not the movie I was hoping for…

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 feels very different from the earlier two movies. Whereas the first film was a psychological slasher, and the second felt more like a goofy black comedy, the third film changes course and goes down a more straight-forward slasher route. It still has a few elements of comedy carried over from the earlier films in the form of a few sight gags and some snarky humor, but for the most part this is just the story of a killer (very) slowly stalking and killing his victims in various bloody and gruesome fashions.

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But while the icky, bloody, stabby parts work surviceably well, the problem arises with the rest of the film, because the movie follows Laura around for most of its runtime. And everything related to Laura is boring with a capital “B”. Because despite the film’s staunch focus on her and her powers, the movie actually does shockingly little with either her character or any of the people around her, to the point where it just feels like a chore to watch any of them. Her role starts out promisingly enough with the initial set-up, what with the claims of her immense power, her benign dreams mixing in with Ricky’s bloody memories, and her having at least one vision of another character’s future, gory demise. But after that the movie pretty much lets the whole psychic angle peeter out and she just turns into this sarcastic character who screams a lot and seems perpetually irritated, because once she leaves the clinic she really has nothing to do. She has a couple of instances where she has visions of her grandmother, but that’s about it. Most of the time she’s just sitting around on her ass, either in the car or in a chair at grandma’s house, while her brother and his girlfriend wander around in the dark or take a very cramped and un-sexy looking bath together. There’s no more prophetic images of death, no attempts to pinpoint Ricky’s location (even when it would be extremely beneficial to do so), and not even a hint at this supposed hidden power she’s supposed to possess. She just does… Nothing. I kept expecting something interesting to happen, like her causing some kind of electrical surge, or even items suddenly getting thrown at Ricky’s funky-looking head, but it never came to be. Instead of some epic counteroffensive she really just lucks into her victory.

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Lord knows how…

And not necessarily because of anything she did, but rather because the coma has turned Ricky from a wisecracking lunatic, into a shambling shadow of his former self with a glass dome around his brain, because apparently Dr. Newbury is some kind of freak. And I know the fishbowl head thing sounds fun, and maybe even interesting, but it’s not. It’s just stupid, and weird and it makes no sense, other than maybe as the film’s lame attempt to try to explain away Ricky’s dull affect. But by turning him into some kind of brain-dead zombie-like figure the film instead just made him dull, which in turn made all the scenes with the killer dull as well. And that should be considered a crime, because Ricky is played by Bill Moseley in this film, and Mr. Moseley can be described as many things, but “dull” should never be among them.

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Good idea, sir. I commend your attempt to escape this dreck of a film.

I was hoping with the semi-sarcastic lead that the movie would at least have some memorable lines. And it does, but they’re for all the wrong reasons. The film was blessed (read: cursed) with four different writers, so I don’t know who’s responsible for some of these stinkers, but they need to be taken out behind the woodshed, if you catch my drift. The banal chit-chat is so incessant that I caught myself zoning out several times. And the one-liners! My god, the one liners…. Some stupid one-liners can be fun with the right delivery or the right film. But this is not that film. While this sequel has a couple of familiar faces, the film inexplicably gave the stupid one-liners to the two characters with the least charisma, so instead of being amusing or ironic in some way, they just make you cringe. Especially considering that most of them don’t make sense. Like, seriously Chris, what does “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” have to do with you shooting a guy walking around with his brain in a glass jar? The only thing that line accomplished was making me pray to whatever gods who would listen that my last words not be so monumentally stupid.

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Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 may have been spectacularly weird, but at least the acting kept it from being boring. Silent Night, Deadly Night 3, on the other hand, is just painfully, agonizingly tedious. The plot is boring, the characters are boring, the dialogue is boring, the killer is boring, the pacing is awful… Hell, even the music pissed me off once I realized they were using one of those handheld, spinning New Year Eve party favor thing-a-ma-jigs to actually try to build tension. No really, the sound of that buzzy, swirly party favor was their idea of a tension sting. In case you’re wondering, no, it doesn’t work, and yes, it’s annoying as hell.

I always try to think of something positive to say about the movies I watch, but all I can think of for this movie is that the direction didn’t totally suck, but lord knows that ain’t enough reason to watch it. So you know what? Go to hell, movie. And take your lousy plot and crappy-ass soundtrack with you. No one will miss your dull ass.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 is available on a variety of streaming services.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 is also available on DVD.

Helpful Links:

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Michi

2 thoughts on “Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: You Better Watch Out! (1989)

    1. Goodness, I hope so. Not that it should have been hard for your brain to overwrite memories as dull as this film would have produced.

      At least the plots for the next two sound bizarre enough to keep me awake.

      Liked by 1 person

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