‘Violent Night’ movie review: David Harbour in a dreadful, never-ending thriller


David Harbour as Santa Claus in ‘Violent Night’
| Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

I’d rather watch Die Hard a million times. ‘Yippee Ki-Yay’ was the coolest antidote to the ugly jumper season. Violent Night probably began life like that, but the final product is seriously dreadful. It is a sadistic, mean-spirited film. By the time we find that the blood money is hidden in the Nativity scene and baby Jesus is tipped out of his manger, you are done making excuses for this appalling offering.

Violent Night

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Cast: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet, Leah Brady, Beverly D’Angelo

Runtime: 112 minutes

Storyline: When loathsome rich people have their homes invaded by vicious thugs on Christmas Eve, they only have a drunk, disillusioned Santa to call for help

Violent Night starts with Santa (David Harbour), in a bar, moaning about greedy children who he compares to little junkies looking for their next consumerist fix. After giving the barkeep a gift for her grandson, he is off to the roof — a mean drunk just like Superman. Just as the barkeep is looking dewy-eyed at the reindeer pulling the sleigh into the sky, Santa pukes all over her. That close-up will positively do things to your stomach.

Cut to the phenomenally rich Lightstone home, where the loathsome family has gathered for Christmas. There is the fearsome matriarch Gertrude (Beverly D’Angelo), who eats Senators as appetisers, her alcoholic daughter Alva (Edi Patterson), and her son Jason (Alex Hassell). Alva has come with her second husband and action star Morgan Steele (Cam Gigandet) and influencer teenage son Bert (Alexander Elliot). Though estranged, Jason and his wife Linda (Alexis Louder) are together for the weekend for their daughter Trudy’s (Leah Brady) sake.

As the family trades insults and the party is getting underway, mercenaries infiltrate the mansion and hold them hostage. Trudy believes in Santa even though her father tells her he does not exist, and hence Santa takes a break from drinking expensive Scotch and barfing to save Christmas and the Lightstones in the process.

Even though Trudy believes in Santa and is on his Nice list, she devises some not-very-nice, and other downright vicious booby traps for the goons — she has taken her lessons well from Home Alone apparently. Everyone has a back story, from the vicious gunmen to their leader, Scrooge (John Leguizamo), and Santa, who before being the jolly red-suited bearded man, was a tattooed warrior with a hammer called — no, not Mjölnir — Skull Crusher.

There is really nothing to redeem in this never-ending movie. A sadistic Santa who likes to watch people get blown up and electrocutes bad guys by stabbing them with a star is not what I want for Christmas.

Violent Night is currently running in theatres

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