Truth in advertising gets a boost in the aptly named Violent Night.
The Production: 3.5/5
Here is the scenario: a party on Christmas Eve with a marriage on the rocks. An armed heist of an electronic safe by thieves. Partygoers held hostage with only one person who can save them. No, it is not Die Hard. If John McClain were Santa Claus, and if this premise were combined with the slapstick comedy of Home Alone and the magic of Elf, you will have Violent Night. Violent Night is the distillation of each of these films into a new high concept.
David Harbour(Stranger Things) stars as Santa Claus, a disillusioned 1100 year old with a foul mouth(thing Bad Santa). Santa inadvertently finds himself in the middle of an armed heist during a Christmas party at an affluent estate, and decides to punish the naughty ones. The cast also includes John Leguizamo(Carlito’s Way) as Scrooge, the leader of the thieves and Beverly D’Angelo(Christmas Vacation) as Gertrude, the family matriarch. Edi Patterson(The Righteous Gemstones) plays a clueless sycophant as only she can, and Cam Gigandet(Twilight) is notable as a douchey actor.
Director Tommy Wirkola(Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) gives dynamic staging to the action sequences. Screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller cut their teeth on the film versions of Sonic The Hedgehog, and they clearly have an admiration of the film antecedents of Violent Night. The film’s producers include Guy Danella(The Fourth Kind) and the husband and wife team of Kelly McCormick(Atomic Blonde) and David Leitch(John Wick). The producers’ oeuvre provides a good hint to the tone of Violent Night.
It has been 24 hours since I finished watching Violent Night, and I am still struggling with my feelings about this film. The best way I can put it is this: I like all of the films from which Violent Night is derived, and I enjoyed this film while I was watching it. Will I watch it again? Time will tell. If you like Die Hard, Elf, Bad Santa, and Home Alone, then you will probably enjoy Violent Night as well. Violent Night is not for the squeamish, and the body count may be surprising to the average viewer. **Spoiler alert!** Santa survives, so this film is ripe for a sequel next holiday season.
3D Rating: NA
Violent Night appears on blu-ray and DVD in its original 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Much of the film is dark(literally) but deliberately so. Blacks are solid with great shadow detail and good fine detail. Colorful hues are played down in keeping with the dark tone.
Violent Night plays in English in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. The surround channels are well employed and the vibrant music composed by Dominic Lewis(Kingsman: The Secret Service) really delivers in setting the tone for the film. This is not a dialogue heavy film, however, dialogue is typically audible as necessary.
Special Features: 3.5/5
Violent Night includes all of the following special features:
Feature length commentary by director Tommy Wirkola, producer Guy Danella, and writers Josh Miller and Pat Casey.
Deleted and Extended Scenes(19:02): Nearly 20 minutes of extended and deleted scenes are included. Family Arrives at the Mansion; Jason and Linda in Bedroom; Krampus sees Trudy’s radio; Santa on the Roof; Walk to the Manger; Family Resolution; Bad Dad; Cast Call Back; and Extended Scenes.
Quarrelin’ Kringle(3:45): Featurette with David Harbour and the fight choreography.
Santa’s Helpers(5:56): Featurette covers many aspects of production including set dressing and costuming.
Deck The Halls With Brawls(6:04): Another featurette covering action sequences.
Also included is a DVD and paper insert with validation code for digital copy of the film via the MoviesAnywhere app. Not pictured in this review is the slipcover which carries a darker navy blue piping around the photographic illustration.
The video and audio presentation are excellent, and the special features are worthy viewing if you enjoyed the film. You already know if you will like Violent Night. It is not for all audiences, but if you only halfway like Bad Santa, Home Alone, Die Hard, and Elf, you are almost guaranteed to like Violent Night as well. Time will tell if Violent Night becomes a holiday classic.
Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.