Violent Night Review – Santa Vengeance is Coming to Town

Violent Night

Posing itself as the ultimate anti-Christmas movie, Violent Night goes to great lengths to distance itself from family-friendly holiday films. As the title suggests, it’s violent in the most delightful, ingenious way. The action is raw, and the fight scenes are more grounded than your typical action outing. There are so many in-close shots and hand-to-hand combat instead of the “gun fu” style of action we’ve seen lately. This is going to turn off more than a few people. Still, if you’re looking for an action-heavy spectacle with a surprisingly heartfelt streak, you will love this movie.

Nevertheless, Violent Night revels in the holiday spirit. Beneath the bloody facade lies a very safe feed good story skeleton—one that lives and breathes by the films of that whence came before it. The flick is chock full of references and homages to some of the best holiday films. Yet, Violent Night keeps the holiday tropes and ridiculous action coming, which is enough to keep audiences invested. The point of the flick is not the plot but the character of Santa Claus.

David Harbour may also be the perfect selection for this version of Santa Claus. He has excelled in material that utilized his usually spot-on comic timing and charisma. His performance is the other big reason the movie works as well as it does. 


Violent Night is a very viscerally gratifying adventure that finds a seemingly endless array of gory ways for Santa to dispatch his enemies.


On the other hand, as a villain, Scrooge is pretty weak. He’s not especially memorable, and the details behind his plan are never explored to their fullest potential. He’s mainly a generic villain that Santa Claus can eventually exact gruesome retaliation upon. Regardless, John Leguizamo does his best with what’s there. He’s fantastic in the role despite the lack of depth in the character.

For the most part, Violent Night is a modern take on the character. Santa is disillusioned with modern-day children and has lost his passion for the holiday. However, predictably, the events of the film help Santa find his groove back. So, like every holiday film ever, the storyline has a heartwarming feel to it. 

Overall, Violent Night is a very viscerally gratifying adventure that finds a seemingly endless array of gory ways for Santa to dispatch his enemies. It’s a nice breath of fresh air in what’s been a stale genre, and even though the movie isn’t exactly the second coming of the genre, at least it’s relentlessly enjoyable that its flaws are easy to forgive.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

Violent Night hits theaters on December 2nd.

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