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

VHS Cover (International Video Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 34%
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Ranked #5,023
...out of 10,504 movies
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Genres / Traits: Horror Slasher Film Christmas

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Samantha Scully
Samantha Scully
Bill Moseley
Bill Moseley
Richard C. Adams
Richard C. Adams
Richard Beymer
Richard Beymer
Melissa Hellman
Melissa Hellman
Review by Chad
Added: December 20, 2010
Why am I still watching these movies? That is the question that I found myself asking midway through Silent Night, Deadly Night III, a movie that proves that not every horror flick deserves a sequel. I'll give it credit for avoiding the "pad out most of the running time with footage from the previous film" trick that the last sequel employed, but other than that, this was one ugly flick that was damned painful to sit through. Merry Christmas, my ass.

After the events of the previous film, Ricky's body was brought to Dr. Newbury (Richard Beymer), a mad scientist of sorts who has kept Ricky alive - albeit in a coma - for the past six years. Newbury also believes that he can communicate with comatose people through psychics, and this has been his pet project for those years. Employing one Laura Anderson (Samantha Scully), a blind girl who also happens to be extremely gifted in the ESP department, Newbury makes a breakthrough: yes, it is possible to dig around in people's minds even when they are in a coma. Unfortunately, this awakens Ricky (now played by Bill Moseley) from his six-year slumber, and he's ready to go on another murderous rampage. Cue him chasing Laura, her brother Chris (Eric DaRe), and Chris' new girlfriend Jerri (Laura Harring) around a remote location while Dr. Newbury pleads with the police to not kill his specimen. That's it folks, nothing more to see here.

See, the problem is the storyline. I enjoy slasher flicks from the eighties and I realize that very few of them cobble together a more detailed storyline than what is presented here, so the shallowness of the plot alone wasn't the problem. The real dilemma here is that nothing happens for large stretches of time. Other slashers have flimsy plots, but they overcome that by bombarding us with kills, gore, nudity, tension, and one-liners: everything that a horror fan demands from finer fare. This one is just content to introduce us to the characters and let us ride along with them while they do absolutely nothing.

Consider this: there are three (maybe four) kills to be found throughout the running time, and all of them take place off screen. The first one treats us to a quick splash of blood on a desk, the next happens completely off screen (though we see the body later), and the third again takes place off screen and we see a bit of red later on. The fourth "kill" is so weak that I'm not sure whether the character actually died or was simply rendered unconscious. I don't need constant violence to enjoy a horror flick, but when there is absolutely nothing else going on, it certainly helps to liven things up. As it stands, we get to see the blind girl fumble around and we get to watch the eighties rocker bitch and moan about being hungry for half of the movie.

Surprisingly, the acting is a step up from the previous film - a large step up, as a matter of fact. Now, this is not to say that these guys and gals were perfect in their roles because they weren't, but by cheesy slasher movie standards, they did alright. Samantha Scully was actually pretty good in the leading role, and Bill Moseley made a mean-looking Ricky. The only downside to this portrayal of the killer is that he wasn't allowed to make the one-liners this time around; in fact, he only repeats one word throughout the entire movie ("Laura!"). I get that they were trying to make this one a little more serious, but c'mon - you had a horrible actor spouting off one-liners every five minutes in the previous film, and now you get someone as awesome as Moseley in that role and you basically reduce the character to a mute? Where is the justice here?

In the end, I really have to give this one a pass as well. It's competently shot, it has acceptable acting from all involved, and the idea presented had potential, but it simply wasn't very entertaining. Also, it really doesn't feel like a Silent Night, Deadly Night movie at all: aside from Laura casually mentioning that it's Christmas Eve, the film could have taken place on any day of the year. I picked these movies up to enjoy a little Christmas-themed horror, and the filmmakers couldn't even get that right. I won't say that it's a horrible movie, but I will damned sure say that it is a boring one... though I'm honestly not sure which is worse. 4/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 12/20/2010, 03:53 PM
Wow. I forgot they even made this one. Truly truly terrible for me. 2/10.
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