Title – Violent Night (2022)
Director – Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow)
Cast – David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo, Alex Hassell, Edi Patterson
Plot – On Christmas eve Santa Claus (Harbour) finds himself stuck in a mansion where the estates owners are being held hostage by dastardly criminal Scrooge (Leguizamo) and his cronies with Santa needing to get his hands dirty in order to save himself and the innocent victims from the worst Christmas ever.
“Santa’s gonna eat through these guys like a plate of cookies!”
Review by Eddie on 23/01/2023
Destined for future cult film status, not many would’ve predicted that a low-budgeted Bad Santa meets Home Alone with a sprinkling of Die Hard movie that stars Jim Hooper being directed by the man responsible for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters would be the fun time it was but low and behold Violent Night became one of the surprise hits of 2022 and arguably the festive movie of last years yuletide season.
Imagining Harbour’s Santa Claus as an alcoholic resentful Father Christmas with a past in viking eras swinging a battle axe known as Skullcrusher, Violent Night is a wild ride that never takes itself too seriously and while its central joke does begin to run a little thin across a close to two hour runtime, it’s hard not to have a good time with this film when its leading man is having so much fun bringing Santa Wick to life and Wirkola is having an equally riotous time paying homage to past Christmas classics as well as giving the audience a lot of memorable moments.
Starting out in hilarious fashion with Santa ruminating on the state of the world in a dingy British bar, Wirkola and Harbour set the tone early on for what to expect from their not too be taken seriously tale and even though the film does pause fairly often from inventive put downs, colorful cussing and vicious blood shedding to try and give us some heartfelt moments and reminders of the Christmas spirit, what makes the film fly is its over the top shenanigans and well pitched performances that includes John Leguizamo as key baddie Scrooge and Righteous Gemstones breakout star Edi Patterson, who help ensure the film stays on track even when it looks like its diverting too far into sentimental territory.
It’s also joyous as a viewer to see beloved Stranger Things stalwart Harbour getting too shine brightly on the big screen after a few false starts or bit parts in the likes of the lets forget it ever happened Hellboy, No Sudden Move, Extraction and Suicide Squad and the hulking figure makes for one of the most memorable feature film Santa’s in sometimes and whether his swinging an axe, downing a glass of milk or throwing up on kindly bartenders, Harbour is the star of the show here and reason enough to partake in Violent Night’s zanny happenings that are light but undeniably fun while they last.
Final Say –
The Christmas movie of the 2022 festive season, Violent Night is far from perfect but it’s a fun, wild and often surprisingly inventive feature that thanks to David Harbour, gifts us the best cinematic Santa of recent memory.
3 bowling balls out of 5
I think on paper….this movie would’ve been a great idea. The movie, however, drags in my opinion. The third act was the best part and certainly embraces the film’s zany premise, but I really didn’t care much for the characters in the movie. Only save for Harbour’s Santa.
I did feel strongly that it dragged too mate, it was at its best when it was just being really over the top. The moments where it got a little preachy held it back fairly often.