By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Leave it to Fantastic Fest to conclude their film extravaganza with a Christmas movie. Of course, this is not the typical, feel-good holiday fare one comes to expect from the season. What is served up is a pitch-black comedy that takes place during Christmas, but during what is essentially the end of the world as we know it. And of course, no one is really feeling fine. While some of the family members have, to some degree, accepted their dark fate, one particularly young child believes that not all hope is completely lost. Written and directed by Camille Griffin, Silent Night is a subversive piece that is sure to please anyone who does not want to endure another Hallmark Holiday movie.

As humanity faces an inevitable extinction, a British family and friends decide to gather together for one more holiday get together. Despite the limitations of their current situation, this moderately wealthy and successful group hope to have one more final dinner party before their inevitable demise. After their festivities, they will follow the instructions suggested by the world’s leaders to commit suicide before experiencing any pain and suffering. As the group eats, drinks, and attempts to remain merry, many emotions from their past events surface and threaten to dampen their last hurrah.

Silent Night is another one of those movies that could be awesomely adapted for a stage play. The impressive writing by Griffin truly drives this movie well and makes the affair all the more compelling and riveting. Despite the dark and forboding inevitable end, Griffin and her cast manage to make the movie mostly funny and entertaining. In the end, the movie does reflect a struggle to handle the morbid conclusion, but given the circumstances, I feel the filmmaker mostly succeeds.

Griffin and her casting department have assembled an amazing cast. All of whom perform wonderfully. The movie features incredible turns by Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Kirby-Howell Baptiste, Sope Dirsu, Rufus Jones, and Lucy Punch. However, it is Roman Griffin Davis who shines the brightest and most passionately and emotionally as Art. Art is the young child who strongly and vehemently believes that there must be a way for humanity to survive. He not only serves as a thin ray of hope, he also serves as a major source of conflict in the film.

And in a movie full of emotions, conflicts, and wonderfully executed comedy, Silent Night is certainly a remarkable holiday offering. Now granted, this movie will not at all appeal to anyone wanting the usual, feel-good Christmas movie that allows audiences to escape the stress and pain in the world. Silent Night embraces all that is real on this planet and is a much more satisfying and realistic movie than most holiday-themed films released during this season.

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