Everyone wants to live in peace, and everyone wants to die without suffering. We fear pain so much that we often rob ourselves of adventures. And of the opportunities that would have made our lives much better. Camille Griffin’s dark comedy film “Silent Night,” thematically explores the fear of a group of individuals. They don’t want to witness the aftermath of an apocalypse. Hence, they decided to die voluntarily. But are they brave enough to swallow the pill, or will they wait for the silver lining to shine upon them? Let’s find out.
‘Silent Night’ Plot Summary
An English couple, Nellie “Nell” and Simon, invite their close friends to join them on Christmas Eve at Nell’s mother’s estate in the countryside. Nell and Simon prepare for the guest with their three sons, two twins, and an elder Art. Soon their college friend, Sandra, her husband Tony, and their teenage daughter Kitty join them.
As Nell and Sandra cherish some old memories, Bella and her girlfriend, Alex, arrive at the house. The last to arrive is their college friend, James, a cancer doctor, who joins the party with his fiancé, Sophie. The guests quickly settle in while Nell, Art, and Simon prepare the grand dining table for them.
The night slowly fades in, and Sophie fails to hide her agony behind her fake smile. It turns out that the elderly are hiding crucial information from the kids. Art, on the other hand, knows everything. An impending danger hovers over the planet, leading to a miserable death on the surface. Amidst such devastation, the queen has taken shelter in the bunkers and requested her subjects take an exit pill to die in peace and harmony. But what is the upcoming chaos, and what caused it?
An Impending Environmental Apocalypse
While there wasn’t any direct explanation of the origin of the Apocalypse, the dialogues in bits and pieces suggested its nature. A large tornado that carried some poisonous gas hit the Earth. The toxic cloud and the storm filled with toxins infected our nervous system, leading to fatal hemorrhaging. It spared no one and killed humans and animals alike.
Some people claimed to have witnessed the horror and suffering these chemicals caused and hence decided to die voluntarily instead of suffering miserably. Listening to their plea, the government issued official exit pills to the registered citizens so that they could avoid suffering and die with dignity.
While no one understood its origin, Art believed that it was the environment’s revenge on entire mortal beings. We polluted our land, air, and water bodies with toxic waste and chemicals, and now mother nature was retaliating. The environmentalists warned us of this impending doom, but we didn’t listen. In our greed, we exploited the natural resources, killed the animals, and disturbed the balance. Art believed that we all deserved an environmental apocalypse.
‘Silent Night’ Ending Explained
It wasn’t a silent night at all. Instead, everyone shared their deepest desires, buried pasts, and cracked a few jokes to brighten the night in the best way possible. While the friends laughed off their worries, Art arduously searched for a light at the end of the tunnel. He told his uncle James that he didn’t want to take the pill.
Art wasn’t scared of pain, but dying without trying worried him. He was ready to entertain the possibility that someone somewhere might have survived the gas. And the government and the scientists could have gotten it all wrong. But except for Art, everyone was too afraid to live. They wanted to end the pain before it arrived and die without suffering at all.
Art finally revealed his decision to Nell and Simon and said that he wouldn’t take the pill. Simon tried to force him when Art ran into the woods. In the dark, he saw a dead family in the car who killed themselves with an exit pill. Simon followed Art but was equally astounded by what he saw. He brought Art back to the estate, but he didn’t know that Art had already inhaled the toxic gas.
The four families realized that the deadly storm had hit them a day earlier. They said their final goodbyes to each other and moved into their respective rooms. Except for Alex and Art, everyone swallowed the pills under the roof that they shared with their loved ones. Alex was heavily drunk and puked off the pill. Later, Bella stabbed Alex with a knife and killed her.
In the case of Art, Simon and Nell thought Art died of poisonous gas because he bled from his eyes. As the storm passed away, a beautiful snowfall hit the ground the following day. Nature healed itself, and so did Art. In the end, Art opened his eyes and woke up. He didn’t die, but unfortunately, everyone around him committed suicide.
How did Art Survive?
There wasn’t any logical explanation for Art’s survival. However, one could say that Art was the only one who had the will to live and wanted others to live as well. He consciously escorted the beloved hen Belinda into the woods and tried to save the environment. Maybe Art was one of the few lucky ones who survived the Apocalypse without suffering miserably, or perhaps the government and the scientists got it wrong, or perhaps they were all lying. It could be anything.
Though what Silent Night tried to underline thematically was that one shouldn’t give up. We should sprint to our last breath and believe we can survive the storm because that is what distinguishes humans: our survival instinct. If we are going to abandon it too, then what’s left?
Silent Night is a 2021 Dark Comedy film written and directed by Camille Griffin.