Review by Camden Ferrell
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s time to focus on the holiday season, and that means an abundance of Christmas movies for audiences to see. One such movie is Violent Night. From director Tommy Wirkola, this promises to be a different type of Christmas movie that may surprise you in more ways than one. While on the surface, it can be a fairly basic and cheesy homage to movies like Die Hard and Home Alone, this movie doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to its gory violence or foul humor.
This movie follows the one and only Santa Claus. However, this isn’t the jolly old man we loved as kids. In this movie, Santa, despite being dedicated to what he does, is a heavy drinker and a cynical and snarky person. One Christmas eve, he finds himself trying to fight off a group of mercenaries as they try and steal a fortune from a wealthy family. As mentioned before, this movie utilizes tropes and ideas from other holiday movies, but it still has a lot of fun with it.
The script is hit or miss for the most part. It has the standard forced Christmas dialogue you can expect, but what was unexpected was the plethora of swears and crude jokes made between the family, the mercenaries, and Santa. It’s quite predictable with its plot, but it does have a lot of fun with its premise and inspirations and is an enjoyable basis for the movie.
The performances this from this movie may not be impressive, but it’s clear how much fun literally every person is having. The movie is led by David Harbour who finally gives us his first really solid leading performance as Santa. He is quite funny throughout and excels with all of the action and violence. The supporting cast is also surprisingly strong consisting of but not limited to John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, and Edi Patterson. Everyone has great chemistry and is going insane on screen with the movie’s R rating.
What stands out most about this movie is how far it’s willing to push its over the top and bloody violence. There are several great action scenes and fight scenes that are hilariously and captivatingly graphic. There is no shortage of blood or creative manners of killing from Santa and everyone else. This aspect is what really made the movie enjoyable and made it stand out in the genre. There are a handful of violent moments that catch you off guard and are entirely delightful to see with a crowd of people.
Take away the swearing and blood, and you’re left with an average Christmas movie, but Violent Night knows what the movie needs to be a truly fun time at the theater. It can get a bit slow towards the middle, but its exhilarating and violent final act makes up for that easily. This is definitely a movie to watch without young children, and if you go in expecting a fun and violent holiday flick, you’ll be satisfied.
Violent Night is in theaters December 2.