‘Violent Night’ (2022) | Movie Review

Directed By:

Tommy Wirkola

Written By:

Pat Casey, Josh Miller


David Harbour, Beverly D’Angelo, John Leguizamo


Action, Comedy, Crime

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout and some sexual references

All media used courtesy of 87 North

It’s time to dust off all of your old Holiday classics to watch with the family, and very rarely does a new film make that coveted collection. Yes there’s Rudolph and Frosty for the kids, but what about the adults after the kids have gone to bed? Violent Night is the adult Christmas film you’ve always wanted and yule be sorry if you miss it!

David Harbour is an exhausted Santa emotionally and physically. We find him sitting alone at a bar feeling sorry for himself and complaining about the modernization of Christmas and what it means. Meanwhile, maybe one of the worst families in America fight for power and status against their matriarchal mother. All the siblings are against each other, until a group of Holiday-themed mercenaries led by John Leguizamo threaten their lives as Santa is delivering presents upstairs! With lives on the line, Santa will have to be a little naughty in order to save the family of little girl who believes in Christmas if he wants to finish his Christmas route, but will this be his last Sleigh ride?

I love a movie that can deliver an communal experience in a theater and Violent Night does it perfectly! David Harbour is fantastic as Santa, and his fighting and physicality works perfect of this type of Santa we’re following. The unique ways the director sets up Christmas themes, sayings, tropes, and not only subverts them, but embraces the cheesiness and insanity of it all. This is produced by David Leitch who also produced the John Wick films and you feel that energy in the fighting and incredible Santa one-liners. Director Tommy Wirkola is able to give adults a “Home Alone” story wrapped in a “Bad Santa” film, mixed with “Scrooged”, specifically the opening film “The Night The Reindeer Died”.

The family while all horrible were very fun to watch. I kept thinking how dumb this “Succession” family was but that only made the comedy hit harder. John Leguizamo is fun for the first half of the film but doesn’t really flesh out his range anymore than just a stereotypical villain. The story can be a little predictable at times, but you are watching this for the crowd-pleasing moments, and they are as endless as Santas sack of gifts. (please don’t take that out of context)

Overall, ‘Violent Night’ has become my new Christmas classic to watch every year. It’s funny, bloody, holly and jolly. See it with the adult family and you will have an awesome movie night or time in the theaters!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
About Me
About Me

Patrick Beatty is a member of the Critics Choice Association (BFCA), Hollywood Critics Association (HCA), and the Utah Film Critics Association (UFCA) and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com. Check out his podcast and make sure to watch Friday’s at 10 AM MST on ABC4 Good Things Utah where he talks about the latest film and television releases of the week!

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