Violent Night Review: David Harbour is having a blast as Santa!

There’s an opening gambit in Scrooged where a promo attempting to entice a new Christmas audience with a super violent movie starring Lee Majors plays out. It’s called ‘The Night the Reindeer Died’ and is a hilarious parody which has much in common with Violent Night.

David Harbour (Stranger Things) stars as a disgruntled Santa in Tommy Wirkola’s ode to the Christmas film which pays homage to many a festive piece, including National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Bad Santa and Die Hard to name a few.

Harbour is on fine form as a grumpy, alcoholic who has nearly lost all faith in humanity. His line delivery is spot on and often hilarious. On entering the mansion of a wealthy family celebrating Christmas together, he guzzles down a bottle of their most expensive booze and passes out, waking up to a home invasion by a gang of thieves intent on taking down the corrupt elite and stealing their money. It’s up to him to save the day. John Leguizamo stars as the man in charge of the heist. His code-name is Scrooge and he hates the festive period – even the villains get a backstory!

Beverly D’Angelo plays the rich and ruthless matriarch, her two adult children Alva (Edi Patterson who gets some great one-liners) and Jason (Alex Hassell) each toying with her affection for very different reasons.  Jason is estranged from his wife Linda (Alexis Louder) and daughter Trudy (Leah Brady) but they have come together for the sake of keeping up appearances, and for Jason’s last-ditch attempt to win them back.

As is the norm with Christmas films, some of the characters learn valuable lessons, albeit in an amusing and brutal way – one scene featuring Bryan Adams’ Christmas Time is particularly gleeful. There’s a little more to the film than expected, as it goes its own way in terms of mythology, but it all wraps up a bit too neatly and is somewhat formulaic. Still, there’s lots of jolly fun along the way.

Violent Night will be in cinemas on 2 December 2022. Find more reviews at SciFiNow

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