North Texas Daily

‘Violent Night’ decks halls with blood, humor

‘Violent Night’ decks halls with blood, humor

‘Violent Night’ decks halls with blood, humor
December 08
13:00 2022

This one goes out to the people who think “Die Hard” qualifies as an actual Christmas movie. When it was announced David Harbour would be playing Santa Claus, no other context was needed to get people excited. Throw in the fact that “Violent Night” is about Santa fighting off home invaders using Christmas magic, and you have the ultimate guiltless pleasure of 2022.

The Lightstones are preparing for another family Christmas when a group of mercenaries plan to steal millions of dollars hidden in a safe beneath their house. As Santa makes his way down the family’s chimney, he comes face to face with the robbers. Out of the goodness in his heart, Santa decides to fight back against the home invaders, all while keeping spirits bright.

Harbour as Santa is so perfect in all the wrong ways. This version of Santa gets drunk at pubs and cusses more than someone with holiday road rage.

Harbour establishing himself as a sarcastic, yet caring, father figure in “Stranger Things” carries over to this film with ease. He may very well be the best version of Santa to grace the big screen. John Leguizamo does a fine job as the villain, making enough holiday puns to let the audience know to just let go and have fun.

In this surprisingly emotional action flick, nothing is off the table. This Santa hates what the holidays have become. There is no baking cookies for Santa or asking for personalized gifts. Leaving him prepackaged treats and asking for money take place of what the holidays really mean.

Instead of hunting down the right gift for the right person, most will just opt for that one huge company that makes online shopping way too easy. The most wonderful time of the year has lost a bit of its flair, and Santa is not happy about it one bit.

The spirit of Christmas losing its meaning is nothing new to these types of movies. Instead of spreading cheer with caroling and cookies, this Santa finds the most joy in shortening the length of his naughty list permanently.

All that commentary is thrown up the chimney when it comes time for Santa to throw down. The fight scenes are intense and physical, something a surprising amount of action films lack today.

Seeing the symbol of jolliness absolutely hand it to armed assassins is just as entertaining as it sounds. There is always some clever intertwining of Christmas decorations and props, creating some of the most over-the-top deaths to be seen this year. Grandma getting run over by a reindeer is just the tip of the iceberg compared to this gruesome Christmas massacre.

“Violent Night” does take a bit to get going, but when the fighting starts, it never stops. If you are a fan of holiday-centered puns, this film may as well be your magnum opus. There are so many weird choices made, including giving Santa one of the most bizarre backstories ever written.

It leans hard into campy absurdity and encourages the audience to simply have a good time. You won’t find much character development or breathtaking shots in a film like “Violent Night.” If that’s what you came into the movie looking for, no blame should be placed on the film. 

This is the time of year when established directors push themselves to make the greatest project of their filmography, all to win a trophy of a little golden man for validation. It is hilarious to find a killer Santa rediscovering his love for the holidays by killing assassins planted in the middle of acclaimed award-season releases.

Instead of watching “Elf” for the millionth time this year, give “Violent Night” a shot. It is such a good time, and it is not every year we get a movie as specific as this. If any film deserves a franchise with new entries coming out annually, it is most definitely one involving David Harbour as a murderous Santa Claus.

In no world should a movie like this one exist. The fact that it is actually good is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

Jaden’s rating: 4/5

Featured Illustration by Isabella Alva

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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