When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day (and Christmas).
The Christmas movie is a staple of the festive holiday period, yet there have been few attempts to produce new content, and even fewer that have turned out to be good movies that people will return to year on year. This year’s most prominent attempt is ‘Violent Night’, a harder edged action comedy that stars David Harbour as a drunken Santa Claus (yes, the actual Santa Claus), who helps fight off mercenaries who have invaded a wealthy family’s estate. Splicing together elements from previous Christmas favourites such as ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Die Hard’, ‘Violent Night’ is a fun and entertaining movie that is worth a cinema trip this year.
After a brief introduction to Harbour’s drunken Santa in the United Kingdom, we shoot off to Connecticut where the Lightstone family are preparing for Christmas. They’re a dysfunctional bunch who spend most of their time drinking and arguing with each other, competing to be their mother Gertrude’s (Beverly D’Angelo) favourite child. These petty arguments are soon interrupted by the arrival of a group of criminals led by John Leguizamo’s ‘Scrooge’ (they all go by festive related names), who are there to steal $300m in cash from the mansion’s vault. Little do they know help is at hand, in the unlikely form of Santa, who has drunkenly (what else?) crash landed on their roof and found himself caught up in the plot happening in the house below.
This is a movie made firmly with tongue in cheek, with Harbour’s entertaining performance anchoring the action packed plot. The filmmakers are clearly having fun and they manage to find a way to build most of the fight sequences and deaths around some kind of Christmas theme. It is a shade too long for an action comedy (the Commander Thorp plot could have been excised), but if you’re after a new Christmas movie to get you in the mood for the festivities, you could do a lot worse than spend some time with David Harbour and ‘Violent Night’.
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson, Beverly D’Angelo, Cam Gigandet and Leah Brady