Violent Night Is An Instant Holiday Classic

David Harbour in Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola. © 2022 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Violent Night is the instant holiday classic that you didn’t even know you needed–this is a comedy that will have an amazing replay value.

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice. He’s gonna find out if you’re naughty or nice. Santa Clause is gonna beat the shit out of you. He knows when you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. I could go on and on but here’s the deal–Santa’s gonna beat you up tonight.

When you feel like the only kid in town without an Xmas tree, here’s a list of people who are–wait, that’s the wrong movie but I think you get the idea. I am Jewish and the inundation of movies about Xmas can certainly be a lot at this time of year. Don’t bother counting the list of studio comedies about Chanukah because I’m not even sure that I can count them on one hand, let alone two. Anyway, it takes a lot to get me to watch a film about Xmas during this time of year. A film has to have the right ingredients for me but it goes without saying that it must include a lot of comedy and bad guys getting beaten up. Let me tell you, Violent Night is going to be added to the yearly viewing rotation.

Prepare for the most violent movie you’ve probably ever seen with Santa Claus (David Harbour). Put it this way–Ed Asner and Richard Attenborough’s Santa Claus are not walking through that door. This guy is a Viking warrior! Hell, David Harbour puts Bad Santa‘s Billy Bob Thornton to shame. He’s not a mall Santa but when you first meet him, you probably have no idea what to think until he exits a bar and goes to the roof. It’s one of those moments watching a film where it ends up being priceless. You just have to see it to believe it! Much like Scott Calvin’s Santa Claus in The Santa Clause franchise, he’s ready to hang it up. And then he meets the Lightstone family. They just might be what restores his spirit to get through the holiday season.

Here’s what you need to know: there is a team of mercenaries breaking into the Lightstone family compound on Xmas eve. No, I do not know who they are standing in for. Scrooge (John Leguizamo) leads the team and takes the entire family Lightstone family hostage while also killing the staff. A quick intro to the family: Jason Lightstone (Alex Hassell) is estranged from his wife, Linda, (Alexis Louder) and their daughter is Trudy (Leah Brady). Jason’s sister is Alva (Edi Patterson), who is the mother of Bert (Alexander Eliot) and in a relationship with Morgan (Cam Gigandet). Their mother is Gertrude (Beverly D’Angelo). What nobody expects is Santa Claus kicking tuchas and saving the day. That’s really all there is to it.

You’re probably wondering if it matters who the Lightstones represent. It really doesn’t because wealth is something that doesn’t really matter in watching this film. What matters, really, is family. But alas, nobody is leaving their career job in the big city to take up residence in a small town and meeting their soulmate. This isn’t a Hallmark movie–far from it and that’s for the best. Maybe it’s actually a Die Hard movie? I mean, they pay homage to so many movies that take place during this time of year.

But like I said, I have a quota when it comes to Xmas movies. I watch so few of them annually. It’s usually the comedy classics like Home Alone, Home Alone 2, National Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation, Elf, and maybe Deck the Halls and Xmas with the Kranks if I feel like it.  What ties them all together it they’re all comedies and Violent Night is no exception. There’s also a nice homage to the John Hughes-Chris Columbus classic that are Home Alone and Home Alone 2 and films cannot go wrong with that.

After Violent Night, you’ll never be able to watch Santa Claus in the same way again.

DIRECTOR: Tommy Wirkola
SCREENWRITERS: Pat Casey & Josh Miller
CAST: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Cam Gigandet, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson, and Beverly D’Angelo

Universal will release Violent Night in theaters on December 2, 2022. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.