Nerdlocker Movie Review: Violent Night


“Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.” – Victor Borge

Sometimes a movie is exactly what it needs to be. The promise for Violent Night was an action packed thrill ride with Santa Claus essentially taking the place of John McClane as Hans and his goons cause havoc during the holidays. Consider that promise like a present under the tree, delivered.

I write reviews because it’s a personal perspective on something I love. I’m sitting in front of my computer right now wondering what to write about this movie. I have a bit of writer’s block if I’m honest. A few hours before I saw Violent Night, I went to another film that was as dramatically different as two movies can possibly be. In a way I needed something to lighten my mood as the subject of this other movie was extremely heavy. I was trying to not let this other movie seep into this review but like I said, it’s supposed to be personal so I guess I’ll just let it in. Violent Night was as it would turn out the perfect counterbalance to the previous movie I saw earlier. It’s a prime example of cinema finding a way to be the solution to a problem I didn’t even know I was having. I was brought down only to be lifted up on the same day.

Someone described this as Die Hard meets Home Alone and there isn’t a more perfect account of what this movie has to offer. It is unabashed frivolity at its most heightened state and if it were a person they would have a grin from ear to ear as they wipe the blood from their face. It knows exactly what it is and never deviates from it. If the bad guys of John Wick killed his dog, these grinches tried to steal Christmas and Santa isn’t having any of it.

Everyone needs a holiday, including Krampus which would explain why Claus himself is handling the naughty list this year and is doing so with extreme prejudice. Santa Claus is a tattoo draped warrior of old who in another life was the last person you wanted standing in front of you. As his most beloved believers find themselves in the path of gun wielding lunatics, his warrior ways come to the forefront as he swings and stabs and destroys his enemies with a hammer, a bright shining star and a HO! HO! HO!

This is not your grandmother’s Santa Claus.

David Harbour is the perfect pessimistic Claus. He beautifully blends a mixture of hopelessness and aspiration. He sees a materialistic, adderall riddled youth demanding little beyond the gifts under the tree. He’s tired and like many of us, he’s losing faith in humanity and mourns the impending end of Christmas magic. Even in this very adult look at Ol’ St. Nick there is still a whole lot of magic to behold and even to Kringle’s surprise, that magic is alive and well if only he chooses to believe.

Violent Night answers the question we’ve all asked at one point or another, “What would it look like if Home Alone were more realistic?” Now of course there’s flying reindeer and magic gift sacks so take this with a grain of salt. When it comes to the violence or lack thereof in the Home Alone franchise, Violent Night is all too happy to show you what it would be like if booby traps were constructed by an innocent child for delusional bad guys all too willing to set those traps off for our amusement. Of course when those traps run out, it’s up to St. Nicholas to dish out his holiday fueled justice to the naughtiest on his list.

There isn’t much to say here. The trailers perfectly encapsulate what’s in store for anyone in hopes of a violence filled sleigh ride. David Harbour is pitch perfect as the drunken, rage filled gift giver. The bad guys are plentiful, perfect for lots of blood soaked silliness. All at once it makes you believe in the magic of Christmas and the power of a hammer to the face. What more could you ask for?

Rated R For: strong bloody violence, language throughout and some sexual references
Runtime: 101 minutes
After Credits Scene: A short mid-credits scene. Nothing at the very end.
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Starring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo, Leah Brady
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 8/ Acting: 9/ Directing: 9/ Visuals: 10
OVERALL: 9.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes.

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard