Violent Night is this year’s perfect Christmas film for the whole family. Once the children have gone to bed and you’ve enjoyed a sherry or two. If you’re not laughing at how funny it can be, you’ll be laughing at the ridiculous over the top ways someone can be killed with Christmas paraphernalia.
As Trudy is fast asleep and the adults are enjoying a cocktail in front of the fire trying to win their mothers affection, Santa is downstairs putting a present under the tree. Sampling the treats left out for him to enjoy he discovers a massage chair and decides to take a break.
Upstairs however are a team of mercenaries who have taken the dysfunctional family hostage. As it turns out there is a vault below the house filled with $200 million dollars and the mercenaries will do whatever it takes to get to it. That is until they meet their match in the form of the jolly man himself, Santa.
Channeling his past life where he wielded a hammer by the name of “Skull Crusher”, Santa works his way through the house to save the family.
Director Tommy Wirkola brings the hammer swinging Santa to the big screen. There are very few scenes that are wasted and could have used some of the cheesy comedy seen throughout. There’s also a few nods to other Christmas films everyone has grown up with. Where Wirkola excelles is is getting every joke set up and delivered to get the audience laughing over and over again.
Leading the cast as Santa is David Harbour (Stranger Things, Black Widow, Hellboy). Harbour isn’t new to delivering this style of humour. It feels like this is a culmination of some of his major characters in his career. But he narrows down to some very clever mannerisms. Such as when he gives a little laugh, it is “ho ho ho”.
Alongside Harbour as Scrooge is John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge, John Wick, The Menu). Leguizamo is clearly having fun playing a bad guy and doesn’t hold back from his normal comedic characters.
Violent Night is a blend of Home Alone and Die Hard. Two of the greatest Christmas films of all time. There’s no way that this film wouldn’t work. It’s funny, it’s overly gruesome but most of all it’s not by any means what you’ll expect.
It’s a weird blend of Christmas magic to fill you with the cheer of Christmas. But on the other hand it’s an action thriller that will have you laughing at how gruesome it can be. There’s no way a Christmas tree star stuck in the eye causing a fire can’t be funny. But this is as far as the movie goes. The beauty of such a film is it knows exactly what it is doing and very much delivers on that.
Overall, this is a hilarious twist on the Santa story. It’ll have you cringing at some of the horrific ways people can die with Christmas decorations. But there’s also some nice messages in there about family and hope. But I really would put the kids to bed first.