Violent Night review: Festive cheer and screams of fear makes a gory Christmas treat ★★★☆☆

2 mins read

If you’re getting bored of watching soppy Hallmark Christmas movies being pumped out in masses upon masses, then Violent Night is the film for you.

David Harbour stars as Santa Claus in this gory Christmas comedy and genuinely aces the drunken despondent detective trope whilst dressed as The Jolly Red Man.

However, Harbour’s performance was one of the few memorable things about Violent Night, which is unfortunate. An assassin, battle warrior, and half inebriated Santa should naturally beget a well-rounded Christmas classic. It’s saddening to report that this wasn’t the case.

Violent Night, a Christmas movie
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

How was it?

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa finds himself side-tracked from his chimney-hopping as, when visiting a stately home conveniently miles away from anything, he finds himself on a murder spree to save Trudy (Leah Brady), a true Santa believer filled with Christmas cheer.

From the synopsis and trailer, Violent Night had the potential to be fun, sweet, messy, and Christmassy but whilst these things were achieved, it was only in a half measure.

Its saving graces were the occasional well-landed gag, the grisly homage to Home Alone, and the performances of Harbour, Brady, and John Leguizamo who played the festively and menacingly nicknamed villain, Scrooge.

Violent Night had some fun use of Christmassy music, some excellent stealth and fighting scenes, and a very inventive storyline to work with but ultimately, it was poorly executed with patchy pacing.

David Harbour starring as Santa in Violent Night
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

In conclusion…

Violent Night is a good film because it’s fun, but not because it is stylistically great. It is a breath of not-quite-fresh (more bloody and metallic) air that has more than a few great moments. It’s definitely worth seeing this Christmas if only to appreciate David Harbour’s excellent committed performance as a ferocious Father Christmas.

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures

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Journalism and English Studies student with an interest in film & tv, music, and politics.
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