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VIOLENT NIGHT movie review – Die Hard Meets Bad Santa Meets Home Alone Meets John Wick

Director: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet, Leah Brady, and Beverly D’Angelo
Movie Length: 1 hour 52 minutes

If you took a bunch of Christmas Movies (Die Hard – yes it is a Christmas movie, Home Alone, Bad Santa) and threw them in a blender with uber violent action movies like John Wick, you’d get Violent Night. David Harbour (Stranger Things) plays a beaten down Santa who drinks to excess and bemoans the loss of the true Christmas spirit. The twist is, he really is Santa. As he staggers through his present giving run, going through the motions, he finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation. Extreme violence (and some hilarity) ensues. 

This movie isn’t shy about the fact that it steals from other movies. The hostage situation is basically Die Hard, and the movie winks at that by name checking the movie. Making Home Alone booby traps is also a reference they drop. In addition to movie references, it is chock full of action movie quips that double as Christmas puns. Violent Night doesn’t take itself too seriously and is better for it. 

Harbour is the glue that holds the movie together. He brings the same weary charisma that made his Stranger Things character so popular and his Black Widow role such a scene stealer. His delivery of his lines elevates the (often cheesy) material. He manages to create a character that somehow feels like a Santa, even though no depiction of Santa I am aware of has ever smashed bad guys’ heads in. The movie also gives him a worthy adversary, with John Leguizamo (House of Buggin’, Ice Age) bringing a frenetic energy that serves as a great juxtaposition to the slower pace of Harbour. The script also does a good job giving the supporting bad guys individual personalities.

Photo by Allen Fraser – © 2022 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

This movie is a hard R, with cursing and tons and tons of violence. While the plot is an homage to Die Hard, the movie is more like John Wick in that it finds a multitude of (Christmas related) ways to kill people. Yes, the movie is ridiculous, but I had a blast watching it. There is a mid credits scene so you may want to stick around for a few minutes afterwards.

Score: 9 (out of 10)

Here is my audio version of this review (along with some discussion of Strange World): https://anchor.fm/darren-shulman/episodes/Violent-Night-and-sort-of-Strange-World-Review-e1rm406

VIOLENT NIGHT is now in theaters.

Have you seen it already? Do you plan to? Chat with us in the comments section below or on our Twitter at @TheConCollectve.


We’re always looking for new writers that are truly passionate about stuff – we give you the review materials, the platform and the support to say what you feel from the heart. If you’d like to write opinion pieces about pop culture topics or reviews, reach out to us using the contact us form.

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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