The Reel Review
When a group of armed mercenaries take a wealthy family hostage at their estate on Christmas Eve, they don’t count on a grumpy, hard drinking Santa being there to kick some ass while spreading holiday cheer. David Harbour (Stranger Things) stars in this goofy crime/action/comedy.
With tongue in cheek nods to such vintage Christmas comedies as Bad Santa, Home Alone and Die Hard, Violent Night is one foul-mouthed, extremely violent film. Oddly, for a film billing itself as a comedy, it is surprisingly unfunny. There are only a handful of chuckles despite Harbour’s all-in performance. The supporting cast includes Leah Brady as young Trudy, the only likable member of the family of loathsome characters helmed by Beverly D’Angelo as the family matriarch. John Leguizamo is the leader of the mercenaries.
The one-joke premise – a potty-mouthed Santa fighting bad guys – could have been cute and even possibly endearing had there been a clever screenplay. Instead, we get a bloody, violent rampage from the duo of writers behind the just okay Sonic the Hedgehog and the even less charming Sonic the Hedgehog 2, with a lot of really lazy, insipid jokes. This poor excuse of a film is the equivalent of a turd in the bowl of egg nog.
• After grossing more than $75 million worldwide at the box office, a sequel is already in the works.
• Violent Night director Tommy Wirkola is best known for his films What Happened to Monday?, Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2.
• Violent Night was filmed in Winnipeg, Canada.
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