Our holiday movie of the month pick is ending 2022 with a bang! I watched Violent Night starring David Harbour, John Leguizamo, and Alex Hassell. This R-Rated flick would be hardcore Die Hard if it starred Santa Claus.

Quick- Spoiler Free- Summary

The movie takes place over Christmas Eve with a disillusioned St. Nick making his rounds to all the good little boys and girls. His Christmas plans hit a slight hitch when he makes it to the wealthy Lightstone family compound, which is in the middle of an armed robbery. The whole family, including an overbearing matriarch and her two children’s families, have been taken hostage.

The robbers are not only trying to ruin Christmas, but they’re also trying to get to the $300 million locked up in the secret Lightstone family vault, which was apparently given to them by the US government to destabilize the Middle East. Not sure why that little tidbit was thrown in there, especially since it was only mentioned once and never brought up again. 

Rich people are rich; do they need a reason to have a metric ton of cash in their basement? But I digress.

Santa being Santa, of course, can’t just leave little Trudy Lightstone in such a dire situation and begins taking out the robbers one by one. Cue 80 or so minutes of Santa kil- er incapacitating the bad guys with various Christmas decorations and whatever tools he can find throughout the sprawling mansion. 

While the acting is a little corny at times, I will definitely say that the movie lives up to its name. You probably won’t want to watch this one with your parents or anyone who doesn’t enjoy a copious amount of gore. 

What worked

Violent Night is a movie that does not take itself seriously at all. Characters bonded over the most surreal situations, and despite being a severely dysfunctional family, they all really seemed to care about each other when push came to shove. Or rather, when a gunman was waving a pistol around. 

Overall I liked most of the characters in the movie. They felt like real people with enough quirks thrown in to differentiate themselves and make them likable. Jason and Linda, in particular, were standouts because they were just trying their best to be good parents to their daughter, despite their issues and personal conflicts. 

When it comes to performances, though, there was no beating the protagonist.

David Harbour as a beaten-down Santa Claus was also perfect casting. While his role in Violent Night played very similarly to his character in Netflix’s Stranger Things, it works incredibly well. He’s gruff, grumpy, but gosh darn, is he going to go down swinging. 

Harbour’s version of Santa was a version I didn’t know I needed, but he did a fantastic job. His relationship with Trudy was heartwarming as the two of them worked together to save the day. 

What didn’t work

Everything actually worked for this movie. The few criticisms I have are minor and don’t detract from how much I enjoyed it. 

My biggest criticism is how weirdly awkward John Leguizamo’s character was. For some reason, he came off as a cartoon character to me. His motivation didn’t really make sense, and he had a weird fixation on Christmas that just didn’t play right. 

If the rest of the cast had the same over-embellished qualities, then it wouldn’t have stuck out quite so much to me. The rest of the characters, even the other bad guys, seemed like normal people with reasonable motivations. They weren’t trying to be villains and didn’t personally have anything against Christmas. 

It was a little off-putting since the character stuck out like a sore thumb, but I blame that on the writers rather than the actor. 

Also, I swear I saw a “corpse” blink. 

My rating

For what it was, I give this movie five out of five candy cane shivs. It was fun, silly, and nice to see a dysfunctional family genuinely care about one another when it came down to it. 

If you’re a fan of slasher movies or can handle gore, I highly recommend Violent Night. It’s a really good time and manages to make you feel the warm fuzzies that all good Christmas movies should. 

If you’re looking for a more family-friendly movie for this holiday season, check out our list of the top must-watch Christmas movies. We promise those are all safe for the kiddos and grandma too. You’ll even find the streaming services you can watch them on included, so you won’t need to figure out if your local Redbox has them in stock. 

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