“When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day (and Christmas).

Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writers: Pat Casey, Josh Miller
Staring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo, Brendan Fletcher
Rating: R
Release Date: December 2, 2022

I am all in Violent Night. You want to know what made me buy-in totally? It’s when Santa Claus says…

Time For Some Season Beatings.

We have Santa Claus giving out cheesy 1980s action movie lines? Oh hell fucking yea we do! (really makes me wonder what other holiday themed cheesy action movie lines I can come up with.)

The premise for this movie is ridiculous so execution is key. They first key ingredient is getting David Harbour as Mr. Kris Kringle. The man made himself famous with Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, and that show is seeped in nostalgia with the setting and references. Violent Night may not have the universal throwback appeal with homages to Steven Spielberg and Fright Night (1985) vibes, but it will have something even greater.

1980s action movies. 1980s cheesiness and over-the-top violence. Santa Clause is a 1980s one-man-wreaking crew.

The father of gift giving is a bit bored with life. He is going through the motions and letting the reindeers guide his sleigh rather than his own ambitions or goals. Santa Claus is unexpectedly thrown off his mundane assembly line life when he enters the home of a wealthy family that is being kidnapped by a group of evil bastards. The bad guys, led by Ben (John Leguizamo) want 300 million dollars that is just chilling in the family’s personal vault. What Ben and his group of mercenaries didn’t plan for was the arrival of a cranky, skilled and deadly Saint Nick.

Does this sound like Die Hard (1988)? It should. A vault, people kept in contained area, an unplanned hero stowing away (arriving in a over-the-top vehicle), a talkative bad guy, and Christmas time. We have just traded Nakatomi Plaza for this wealthy mansion. We have traded John McClaine for Santa Claus. We have traded Hans Gruber for Ben. (Sheesh, but a bad name for a bad guy).

The key to Violent Night is buying into the bit, and that is something director Tommy Wirkola has happy to do. If you have not heard of Wirkola before, that is okay. I am here to educate you.

Wirkola directed a pair of movies that are objectively absurd but undeniably watchable and immersive. You want zombie Nazis? You want two movies of them? May I introduce you to Dead Snow (2009) and Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead (2013). Listen readers, or read up, whatever you prefer. Wirkola had to sign off of the sequels tag-line of “THE SEQUEL YOU DID NAZI COMING.”

A pun in the movie tagline?? This man has my heart.

The movie is written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller. The pair have been working together for a very long time, dating back to 2000. Their most recent movies, both financial smashes, are Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (2022). The dialogue in Violent Night is not going to have you contemplating existential thoughts, but it will have you grinning from ear-to-ear with Santa Clause talking shit to a militia of killers on the naughty list.

Violent Night releases on December 2, 2022. Violent Night is not a family friendly movie, but it is one you’ll want to be talking about with your friends and family.


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