Violent Night (2022)

Violent Night
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writer: Pat Casey, Josh Miller
Cast: David Harbour, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Leah Brady, Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet, Alexander Elliot, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo
Seen on: 1.12.2022

Santa (David Harbour) is not in a good mood. Christmas is here, and he would just rather drink and forget everything. Instead he gets roped in to help Trudy (Leah Brady) and her very rich family, the Lightwoods, who are currently under attack from mercenaries led by Scrooge (John Leguizamo). Trudy is a really good kid who still believes in Santa, and he just hasn’t got it in him to disappoint him. But he does have a lot of violence in him that is begging to be unleashed.

Violent Night is just the kind of gory fun that you would hope it is. It had me laughing a lot and cringing a little, and in the end, there is even a sweetly sentimental note that fits its holiday theme. In short: it’s great entertainment.

The film poster showing Santa (David Harbour) sitting on  chimney with a giant hammer.

Christmas horror movies are their own genre, and Christmas comedies are certainly a thing, but rarely have the two been combined, and I’ve never seen such a flawless execution of the combination. David Harbour is the perfect choice, nailing the bitter disillusioned Santa just as much as the still hopeful Santa that gets swayed by a single good kid. And you even believe his surprising backstory that adds a new element to otherwise pretty familiar tropes.

But this movie proves that you don’t need unfamiliarity to be exciting, and that well-executed tropes still works. So, when Trudy whips out the Home Alone boobie traps, we all know what’s coming – and it is awesome. When Santa grabs his warhammer, you know that he will come out victorious, but that doesn’t mean you won’t watch the ensuing fight open-mouthed.

A bloodied Santa (David Harbour) getting ready for action.

I also love that we’re getting to see much more of John Leguizamo again recently. And he is excellent as Scrooge, a thoroughly bad bad guy, but with a glimpse of vulnerability that actually works in Leguizamo’s skilled performance. He is almost more likable than most of the Lightwoods who are so far up their own asses, it’s both exasperating and hilarious.

The film is well-paced and doesn’t have a boring second. I wouldn’t have thought that the premise would have been enough for a full-length film, but it definitely works. If you are a bit of a Christmas grump, it will definitely get you into the holiday spirit of horrible family, violence and greed, and a measure of niceness buried deep down.

Santa (David Harbour) tied up with christimas lights, Scrooge (John Leguizamo) leaning over him.

Summarizing: if you want to see Santa kick ass, and who wouldn’t, go for it.

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