Production of the horror film Silent Night, directed by Camilla Griffin, started before the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s hard not to watch and interpret it in that context.
The film follows a group of friends who are spending Christmas in an idyllic country cottage in rural England with Nell (Keira Knightley), Simon (Matthew Goode) and their three children. The Christmas greetings make it clear that the world outside the cottage is in danger, and the friends have pledged a decisive escape.
The danger is never fully explained, but the Earth seems to be covered with a toxic cloud of toxins that painfully kills those in danger. Throughout their lives, children often act as proxies for adults, engaging in political discussions while their parents recall or talk about who slept with whom in high school. Art (Roman Griffin Davis), one of Nell’s children, watches online videos that seem to contradict his parents’ messages and begins to question their choice.
The timing of Silent Night makes it intended to be viewed like a film about Covid-19, but it’s really about climate change and government inaction in a crisis. It’s a creepy movie that highlights how vulnerable children are to adult decisions and how the rich shy away from responsibility and protect their own. Most of the adult characters seem to live in conspiracy theories, blinded by their own fear and resigned to their impending doom. But the characters, despite their theatrical representation of the class of the rich, are not convincing enough to survive the film, and the horrors of the outside world are not fleshed out enough to intimidate. Ultimately, the film seems to ask: should we surrender in the face of a dying world, or stay and fight?
Not rated. The duration of the performance is 1 hour 32 minutes. In theaters and at AMC +.