Silent night, violent night!
All is calm, all is bloody.
Sleep in heavenly pieces,
Sleep in heavenly pieces.
Violent Night, the gloriously devious Santa film, is the best R-rated Christmas action movie since Die Hard. Full of blood, violence, and clever kill scenes, the movie is a sugar rush of fun.
David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) is perfectly cast as Ol’ Saint Nick, who finds himself trapped in a mansion when a group of armed robbers take a rich (and not very pleasant) family hostage. Abandoned by his reindeer, he channels his ancient Viking days and goes ballistic on the unsuspecting criminals. Death, and more death, ensues.
Harbour digs in deep as a disgruntled, tiring, and alcoholic Santa Claus. Your liking of Violent Night will depend on two things: 1) whether the previous sentence perks your interest, and 2) you get giddy at the sight of unnecessary violence.
Violent Night delivers on its promise in spades and candy canes. Unlike some other macabre Santa films released over time (yes, there are others), Violent Night operates with an incredible level of energy and sense of joy, as misplaced as that joy may be. The kill scenes get more brutal as the movie progresses, culminating in a final death that had the audience clapping in elvish delight.
The story, as simple as it is, actually works pretty well; while the screenplay isn’t going to win any Oscars, it’s suitable for the film at hand and is not lacking in holiday references.
I really wouldn’t change much about this movie; the real question is how can I trick my wife into watching it with me?
Violent Night is a bloody good time. Merry Christmas to me, you, and all of us.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.