‘Violent Night’ brings holiday cheer in different ways


Asyah Zamani

A new Christmas film “Violent Night” was released on Dec. 2. The film is an action comedy and stars David Harbour as Santa Claus.

Usually Christmas time brings in feel-good movies that can uplift the spirits. “Violent Night,” released on Dec. 2, did just that.

This film stars David Harbour, (“Hellboy,” “Black Widow”) as Santa Claus, Beverly D’Angelo, (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”) as Gertrude Lightstone and John Leguizamo (“The Pest”) as Mr. Scrooge.

Santa isn’t so “jolly,” as the film started out with him jaded about the holiday season.

As the trailers suggested, the film is about a group of criminals trying to rob a wealthy family on Christmas, and Santa himself has to stop it. While that is the crux of the story, there are more arcs to many of the characters in this film. There is some backstory to some of the characters, including Santa. There were also some action movie clichés that one could see coming.

While it is a simple plot, what this film delivers on is action and comedy. This film is so over-the-top with not only the action and violence, but also the character portrayals and the humor. This film satirizes the consumerism aspect of the holidays while also delivering a heartfelt message in the midst of the carnage. Many of the laughs resulted from how cartoony and exaggerated the violence was.

A lot of the actors’ performances were over the top, too. Many of the actors, including those who played villains such as Leguizamo, who portrayed the main villain, appeared as though they were having fun in their roles. D’Angelo hammed it up as the foul-mouthed and cruel matriarch of the wealthy family.

This film does not take itself seriously, and it shows through all of the overexaggerated action and the comedic elements that went with it.

However, that doesn’t mean that there was no downtime or heart to the film. One highlight in terms of performances was from newcomer Leah Brady, who portrayed Trudy, the young daughter of Jason Lightstone portrayed by Alex Hassell and Linda Matthews portrayed by Alexis Louder.This young actress had a good dynamic with Harbour as the little girl communicating with Santa during some of the action scenes.

It was also interesting to see the homage to 1988s “Die Hard,” 1990s “Home Alone” and also the “Bad Santa” films.

Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola did a good job in the direction of this film, but some of the credit should go to the script by Peter Casey and Josh Miller. Both writers knew what they were doing when they wrote this script. This may have been one of the better Christmas-themed action-comedies in a long time.