Extreme violence and gore aren’t for everyone, and that’s a shame. Those who can’t handle the action in Violent Night will miss out on one of the year’s best films.
David Harbour portrays a cynical Saint Nick who inadvertently stumbles upon a hostage situation at the Lightstone family compound. An adorable young captive named Trudy (Leah Brady) convinces Santa to help rescue the family, leading some gleefully gruesome action scenes.
John Leguizamo, who is – both literally and figuratively – Scrooge in the film, leads a team of violent mercenaries who are so much fun to watch that it’s almost a shame to watch them die. At least until you see how much fun the film has with those death scenes. (Don’t come at me for spoilers, you know what you’re getting here.)
Violent Night would fail in both concept and delivery if it lacked self-awareness. Instead, the film always knows exactly what it is: a Die Hard and Home Alone mashup with a healthy dose of Elf thrown in for good measure.
While action comedies aren’t unique, Violent Night sets itself apart with the addition of all that heartwarming Christmas schmaltz. This is a holiday film at its very core. Director Tommy Wirkola delivers a razor-sharp balance of violence, comedy, and sentimentality from the opening scene through the end credits. The movie also manages to clock in at a crisp 112-minute runtime. There’s no bloat here beyond Santa’s belly full of cookies and beer.
This R-rated feature definitely isn’t for the whole family. It’s heavy on the four-letter words and full of that previously mentioned gory violence. If those aren’t a problem for you, however, grab your tickets now and get ready for a couple of hours of bloody holiday fun. Violent Night is in theaters on December 2, 2022.
About Violent Night
Rating: R (Some Sexual References|Language Throughout|Strong Bloody Violence)
Runtime: 1h 41m
An elite team of mercenaries breaks into a family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone hostage inside. However, they aren’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint.