MOVIE REVIEW - VIOLENT NIGHT (2022)
RUNNING TIME: 1 HOUR 52 MINUTES
RELEASE DATE: December 2, 2022
DIRECTOR: Tommy Wirkola
WRITERS: Pat Casey & Josh Miller
Cam Gigandet...Morgan Steel
SPOILER ALERT: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I have always loved a good Christmas movie. When the holiday season comes around, you will find me wanting to have movie marathons with my wife and kids. I look forward to it every year. I love all of the classics but always look for new flicks to add to the rotation. With that said I always also try to find a way to watch Die Hard when I can. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie. No I don't watch it with my kids, but I like to try to get another I have seen Christmas themed movies from all genres throughout my life and always feel that even though they may not fit into the cheer of the holiday season. These other movies no matter if they deal with horror, action or whatever genre still have a place no matter what time of year they are played. Hell, I've watched Christmas Vacation during the hottest days of August because I was just in the mood to watch a classic comedy. Violent Night however is a unique one though. Believe it or not, it has all of the great fight sequences that we look for in an action movie while also having a charm to it that still has you cheer for the family while also creating a great bond between Santa and Trudy. Plus it has some pretty funny scenes as well.
Violent Night begins as we meet David Harbour's Santa in a bar getting all kinds of shit faced drunk. It's definitely not what you would expect when seeing a Santa in a movie. He feels justified in this. He feels that the Christmas spirit is lost and that children feel that they don't need him anymore or really care about Christmas as anything more that getting presents. He even claims that the world has turned greedy just as he also declares that this will be the last Christmas. I know it's super dark right. This is all revealed while a mall Santa who also sits at the bar takes care of David Harbour's Santa bar tab because he feels bad for the down and out Chris Kringle. Harbour Santa thanks the mall Santa then gives a gift to the bartender from his sack for her son and then exits through the roof access door. The confused bartender chases after him to tell him that he can't leave that way only to find an empty roof top. She then becomes stunned as she hears the jingle bells as the reindeer and slay fly above her only to be puked on by the now sick Santa who had way too much to drink. None of this was expected and I found myself laughing out loud. It was hilarious.
We then meet Jason, Linda and Trudy played by Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder and Leah Brady respectively. Jason and Linda are having trouble in their marriage and are separated while Trudy is there sweet daughter who wants nothing more than her parents to get back together. Leah Brady is the heart of this movie. Yes this film has a heart and the character of Trudy is a true believer of the Christmas Spirit and the bond that she creates with Santa through the movie is his motivator. I won't go into how this bond gets created, there is great magic to the moment that I really don't want to ruin for you.
John Leguizamo makes for a fantastic villain in this movie. His character is believable when it comes to developing his purpose and reason for doing what he does. My largest moment of appreciation for this film comes from Beverly D'Angelo first comes on screen. I didn't just mention Christmas Vacation earlier for no reason since it's one of my favorite movies of all time. I was thrilled to see her in this movie and I was even more happy that they cast her as a no nonsense bad ass business woman. It was such a departure from her role as a Griswold and she crushed it.
One of my favorite parts of this film was that they gave glimpses into Santa's past, before he was Santa. This movie depicts Santa before Santa as a vicious Viking warrior who loved his weapon of choice, the skull smasher. I don't think Violent Night should go to a direct sequel without exploring this character during that time of his life in an epic war prequel. Give us that first and then give us a Violent Night sequel. I see easy franchise here.
As you can tell I loved this film. It was so much fun to watch and actually has more heart than the teasers give it credit for. Will I watch this film with my children anytime soon? Of course not. We have quite a few years for that. If you have not seen it, I urge you to watch it as soon as you can if you are looking for a fun movie experience. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!
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