HOLLYWOOD—Talk about a movie that is indeed a surprise for viewers. I’m referring to the flick “Violent Night” that has a title that might be a turnoff for many Americans, but don’t allow it to be because this movie is an entertaining, exciting, hilarious fun ride that I enjoyed every second of. There have been some holiday theme flicks that are not the ones that give you the gushy feel good moments that have been slightly cringe-worthy or what some have deemed inappropriate for the holiday. I’m looking at you “Black Christmas” and “Silent Night, Deadly Night.” Flicks where Santa Claus is the villain and it is not something that is family friendly or that kids can indulge in.
With that said, “Violent Night” does not see a bad Santa, you see a good Santa who saves the day portrayed by David Harbour. This flick doesn’t have any major stars, and that is fine and dandy because the premise is so unique, so much fun and just a thrill ride from start to finish. I could not believe how entertained I was with this movie; it was simply fantastic because I was intrigued, I loved the action, the dialogue is witty, yet cheesy, but expected and it works.
In addition, I found myself enthralled with laughter during the second and third acts of the movie that I did not expect, but it works. In addition, this movie not only will adults enjoy, I honestly think kids would like it to, but it is indeed rated-R so the gunfire, the blood and the expletives are not as kid-friendly as you expect, plus you don’t want to give kids bad ideas about Santa Claus.
The premise of the flick follows a wealthy family that finds themselves hostages of a mercenary of thieves looking to get their hands on a massive sum of money hidden inside this lucrative estate. The family matriarch is led by Beverly D’Angelo who has a bit of a pouty mouth when it comes to addressing her children and grandchildren. John Leguizamo portrays villain, Jimmy Martinez, who is the leader of the mercenary group and he portrays a damn good villain. He’s quite convincing. The thorn in his mission is Harbour’s Santa who just wants to deliver gifts to kids, but finds himself portraying the hero as he does his best to rescue Trudy Lightstone (Leah Brady) and the rest of her family.
The movie does a fun job of playing with this notion of Santa Claus being a guy dressed up in a suit or the actual mysterious figure that rides reindeers and travels through chimneys in homes to drop off gifts to kids. It works though and draws the spectators in with ease. The violence, the movie’s title lives up to its name. I mean there were plenty of moments where I cringed, and screamed and squirmed while watching this movie. Bloody is indeed an understatement. Santa uses a candy cane in ways that you will never look at those items the same.
“Violent Night” is the perfect B-movie that gives you everything you expect and does not apologize for it at all and as a result it is a movie that is the perfect ride that gives moviegoers a slight deviation from what you expect when you think of a Christmas movie. Think “Die Hard” on steroids, but with Santa Claus in the driver seat and way bloodier and hilarious.