Violent Night (2022) Review

Poster: Violent Night by Bryan Johnson

So I recently saw Violent Night, and it was a fun movie. It works as a christmas movie and uses a lot of christmas movie tropes while also being a violent action movie about Santa rescuing a family from issues of its own creation. Violent Night was directed by Tommy Wirkola and stars David Harbour as Santa Claus, John Leguizamo as Scrooge, Alan Hassell as Jason Lightstone, Alexis Louder as Linda, Cam Gigandet as Morgan Steel, Editor Patterson as Alva Lightstone, Never D’Angelo as Gertrude Lightstone, Leah Brady as Trudy Lightstone, and Alexander Elliot as Bert. When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, the team isn’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint (synopsis from letterboxed). This is a movie that directly engages on its premise, and it delivers on it too. Its part gory action movie, part comedy, and part classic christmas movie. It uses a lot of classic christmas movie elements and formulas but also makes them kind of new since they’re being used in a gory action movie about Santa killing mercenaries. This is going to be a bit of stretch, but this movie kind of uses the now well known Hallmark romance formula in a way. Santa is a busy workaholic guy that has lost his christmas spirit. He comes across a family being held hostage and has to stay and help solve the situation. During this he is in contact with Trudy through a walkie talkie radio. This situation and Trudy’s belief in him bring back his christmas spirit and save the day. For this movie it works, and it works well for me. I enjoy how it gives Santa and the main family members an arc to go on through this movie. David Harbour is amazing as Santa and is the stand-out character of this movie. He’s badass but still has that wholesome energy in the character, even during the parts where he’s less than that. I do enjoy what they did with his backstory throughout the film, it does help explain why he’s such a badass and why he has a proclivity for a certain type of weapon. Everyone else in the movie did a great job, and you can see that everyone had a good time making this movie.

Most of the comedy in the movie works for me, but some of it is pretty cringy. Though I found that it was supposed to be cringy, as it was mostly tied to the more comic relief characters we’re not supposed to like. Probably the most effective comedy for me is the stuff related to people not believing in Santa when the actual Santa is in front of them, and the full on home alone scene. If you’ve ever wondered what Rated R home alone traps would be like, this is where you can find out. The action is pretty good throughout the movie. It makes good use of the setting with Santa using whatever he can find as a weapon, with decorations becoming deadly. They also got really creative with the hammer action in the movie. A stand-out action scene for me is when Santa is in the shed while a bunch of armed goons surround it and he finds a sledgehammer. It’s awesome and brutal and creative in what Santa is able to do in it. The action is all well-shot and well edited. No real shaky cam or fast editing. You can tell they put in the work to make it look as good as they can get it. The music is fittingly overtly christmas music and works for the tone of the movie. 

Over-all this is a fun movie and a good addition to your holiday action movie watch throughs. Some may see it as Die Hard in a mansion staring Santa as john Mclane, but I can safely say its if Die Hard was a full on outward christmas movie. Its a fun watch that’s worth seeing, Two-Thumbs Up !


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