The insanely funny holiday killfest we never knew we needed, Violent Night is nonstop fun with David Harbour seemingly born to play the film’s rough Santa.
When a wealthy family compound is taken over by a team of mercenaries, Santa Claus (Harbour) may be their last hope. Violent Night excels because it knows exactly what it is meant to be and never tries to be more. The action is plenty, the jokes nonstop, the gore vicious. Harbour quarterbacks it all with absolute precision in delivering his lines that could easily have come off much cheesier. He kicks absolute booty, getting creative with his options as he takes down mercenary after mercenary opposite the villainous leader played by John Leguizamo, who is clearly having a blast. Add in ridiculously written roles for Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet, and Beverly D’Angelo and you have all of the humorous ingredients for a tasty outing; the casting is truly great.
On the technical front, the stunts are wild and the film is beautifully shot, even the outdoor scenes where a lot of the action takes place. The music is appropriate for the season and flawlessly complementary to the chaos playing out on screen. On the script front it doesn’t all always work. The plot details around the wealthy family at the center of the story are paper thin and we barely scratch the the surface of the relationships within the bunch, even after delicious breadcrumbs are dropped. But everything else works, coming together to make one of the most entertaining holiday films in years, one that will certainly be in my regular rotation.
Violent Night hits theaters on Friday.