Violent Night

Violent Night

Published on

On Christmas eve a man attends a Christmas party. While he’s out of sight in another room, a group of mercenaries crashes the party and takes every other attendee hostage. Looking for a big payday these mercenaries have accounted for everything but one thing: one man with the skills to take one these men and save the hostages. Sound familiar? If your guess is Die Hard you’re absolutely spot on, and for years there has been a debate whether Die is a Christmas movie or not. Well, for all those nay-sayers now comes Violent Night, which you could call Die Hard with Santa Clause.

Yes, old Saint Nick himself takes on the John McClane role as he’s quietly chugging down some hard liquor in a room while delivering presents. This version of Santa Clause (David Harbour) has more in common with Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa than the Tim Allen version. He’s a miserable drunk, estranged from Ms Clause and is fed up with humanity’s greed. But when a child is in danger Santa will try to rise to the occasion and save her life.

Glancing at the poster I thought this was going to be the umpteenth movie starring a killer Santa Clause. It wasn’t until I read the synopsis just before putting it on that I realized there was a different angle to this movie. While Santa Clause definitely kills a large amount of people in various novel ways, he’s the hero of the story instead of some evil presence. That role is reserved for John Leguizamo, whose lead mercenary character is code-named Mr. Scrooge and actually hates Christmas.

The location is a large mansion owned by an extremely rich and ruthless business woman (Beverly D’Angelo). She hosts a Christmas party but the family dynamic here make the Roy family in HBO’s Succession look happy and normal.

The main problem with a character like Santa Clause is that he’s magical. A group of mercenaries should be no problem for someone who is alive for several thousands of years now. To tackle that problem the writers have based his powers on believe allowing the character to be mortal most of the time. He only uses his powers sparingly when the script requires him to. It’s a bit of a Deus Ex Machina in several scenes where his magic abilities, like transporting himself through a chimney, come into play when he’s cornered and has no place to go.

Violent Night is both a fully R-rated action movie as well as a parody on Die Hard and Home Alone. Both movies are referred to by name, and several scenes and plot-points and twists are taken directly from those two holiday classics. The movie even takes some cues from Die Hard 2 like a death by an icicle, a snow mobile chase and it even uses the same twist in the final act. The writers didn’t go to great lengths to write something original, they just took what worked for those three movies and gave the John McClane character a white beard and red hat.

Violent Night also finally gives people the R-rated Home Alone we have all been craving for over 30 years now.

I had a blast watching Violent Night. It’s not a perfect movie and will certainly score 0 points for originality, but it was a nice present suddenly appearing on a streaming platform just two days before Christmas. Maybe it will become a holiday classic in years to come and it makes for a nice binge watch together with the first two Die Hard and Home Alone movies.

Violent Night poster
Violent Night poster
Violent Night
  • Year:
  • Director:
    • Tommy Wirkola
  • Cast:
    • David Harbour
    • John Leguizamo
    • Alex Hassell
  • Genres:
    Action, Comedy, Crime
  • Running time:


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