Horror Movie Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)


There have been some odd movies that have somehow been turned into long-term franchises. For example; Children of the Corn, The Omen and… Silent Night, Deadly Night. It’s the latter that is up for discussion here. Amazingly there have been five Silent Night, Deadly Night films and a loose remake in 2012 simply called Silent Night. You can read our review of that film here.

The original was released in 1984 & is not only a great Christmas horror, it’s a great horror movie, full stop. You can read our review here.

Better Watch Out 1

For reasons that make little sense we got a follow-up in 1987. Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 was a lazy rehash of the original but lesser in every way. As pointless of a release as it was, most horror fans who’ve seen are grateful that it exists. If it didn’t we wouldn’t have gotten the greatest moment in horror to date.

Better Watch Out 2

You know what I’m talking about. Garbage day! Read our full review of that film here.

Only two years later the third movie in the franchise was released & continues the story told in the last two movies. Santa…take the bloody wheel, this is going to be a rough one.

In an amazing turn of events, Ricky Caldwell (now played by Bill Moseley) did not die at the end of part 2. He has been comatose for six years & has had a glass dome affixed to his head to repair his damaged skull. A hell of a lot of effort for a killer.

Better Watch Out 3

Dr. Newbury (Richard Beymer) has been trying to contact Ricky by using a blind clairvoyant girl called Laura (Samantha Scully) to try reach out to him. While dreaming she sees the murders of Ricky’s parents (footage of the first film) & finds it very traumatic. Wanting to quit the experiment, Laura leaves to go spend time with her grandmother & brother over Christmas. This is when the mother of all conveniences happens.

A drunk & obnoxious Santa that had been visiting other patients wanders into Ricky’s room & starts insulting him. Ricky wakes up & even though he has been in a coma for 6 years, has the strength to kill Santa & a receptionist on his way out.

Better Watch Out 4

Ricky’s back & Christmas is about to get a little bloody. Especially for Laura who now shares a physic link with the killer.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! is a wasted opportunity for the Ricky Caldwell story to go out with a bang. The next two sequels share nothing in common with the original tale so it’s a real pity to see this one takes itself so seriously & misuse such talent like Bill Moseley. A man who embodies the characters he plays, here he barely gets a line. Instead wandering around slowly like Michael Myers with a gormless look on his face.

While that can be put down to the fact his brain is basically mush, the film has no issue with the skinny (and comatose for 6 years) Ricky overpowering larger men.

Better Watch Out 5

The story is initially intriguing, although getting more flashbacks to the original after what we suffered in part 2 seemed unnecessary. The idea of attempting to contact Ricky through a psychic link is a good one but relies a little too heavily on characters acting like idiots. Very few people seem to even bat an eyelid when encountering Ricky & his weird brain jar.

A lack of gore, interesting or fun kills & a lead (Laura) who isn’t that likeable. She starts off fine but when meeting her brother’s girlfriend who is nothing but nice to her, she is very mean & sarcastic. Unnecessary & doesn’t endear you to her at all.

Better Watch Out 6

There is a little bit of a sequel bait ending but thankfully it doesn’t get followed up in the next film. Not the worst Christmas horror you’ll ever see, it just feels like a lot of wasted potential.

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!
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