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  • Ellis Barthorpe

Violent Night ★★

Tommy Wirkola

Starring David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Leah Brady, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder

"Violent Night, (un)holy night."

All is definitely not calm and definitely not bright in Tommy Wirkola's Violent Night. As a privileged family are broken into on Christmas Eve, there's only one man to save the day...and that man is jolly old Saint Nick.


Maybe scratch the "jolly". David Harbour is the latest star to don the boots and red hat, as a version of Santa Claus not often seen; one full of departure, grit and a lack of Christmas spirit. So, when an opportunity rises to bring back his more violent past, he can't resist getting involved to save Trudy (Leah Brady), the less self-obsessed member of the invaded family.


With an overflowing stockings-worth of Christmas puns, many an over-the-top fight scene and a concept more ridiculous than most, Violent Night somehow isn't as silly as you'd like it to be. It's loaded with predictable plot beats and blatantly steals ideas from other beloved Christmas films in a way that doesn't feel nuanced or referential.

A couple of KO's or super-sledging deaths are reminiscent of those in John Wick or Nobody, using traditionally non-violent objects as weapons, and they make for some humorous moments.


There's a candy cane knife, a nose-related chimney death and a portrayal of a down-on-his-luck, bored of work, alcoholic, tattooed Santa trying to save an egotistical, selfish family from a team of armed mercenaries...it's a shame it fails to be anywhere near as fun as it sounds. Ho Ho No!


Violent Night available in cinemas now

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