Mild spoilers ahead!
Christmas is upon us, which means it’s time for a new festive movie to hit our screens. It’s very safe to say that David Harbour’s rendition of Santa Claus is not your typical, family friendly one…
The premise to Violent Night is very simple. Santa is an alcoholic who has become bitter towards the materialistic world we now live in, he’s lost his Christmas cheer and he really doesn’t care any more. But when he stumbles upon a mansion and a wealthy family under attack by mercenaries, he taps in to his past and takes it upon himself to save the day, by any means necessary.
That’s pretty much it! It’s a very simple concept and the film is definitely at it’s best when it is focusing on that. The violence is very brutal at times, which is both surprising and entertaining. Just because it’s technically a Christmas movie doesn’t mean that anything is held back, some of the kills are inventive and gory (the film pays homage to the Christmas classic Home Alone to brilliant effect.) and you’ll no doubt wince a few times.
Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to justify a near 2 hour runtime (which really is ridiculous, this could have been cut down a lot.) which means that the film is quite hollow and needs some sub-plots and filler to pad everything out. I found myself caring very little about the family drama surrounding the hostages, which is the main focus of the secondary plot, it messed with the pacing and I just wanted to get back to the action.
Violent Night is an entertaining, strange hybrid of an uplifting, heartfelt Christmas tale and brutal, bloodthirsty gore-fest. The two really shouldn’t go together, but for the most-part, they do! Sure, it’s a bit thin on plot and it really didn’t need to be as long as it did, but when it sticks to the core concept it is undoubtedly great fun and will (hopefully) make you smile and laugh… Assuming you don’t mind mindless violence and vulgar language.
I give Violent Night a 6/10.
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