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'A Night of Violence' review: David Harbor stars as sledgehammer-wielding Santa in fun, twisted Christmas comedy

Have you ever unwrapped a promising Christmas present, only to find that once you took it out and assembled its parts it wasn’t at all what you had hoped for? Is it shoddy, or not quite what it claims to be, or just not as fun as you thought it would be?

Tommy Wirkola’s Violent Night Fortunately, this is not a gift. It is a product that does exactly what it promises on the box. It doesn’t necessarily deliver more more than promised on the box, but it doesn’t. For those for whom the idea of ​​a home invasion comedy-thriller starring David Harbour as a sledgehammer-wielding Kris Kringle has an unspoken appeal, come here. That said, this one seems destined to become an alternative holiday classic.

Violent Night

Bottom line A gory festive magician.

Release date: Friday, December 2 Throwing:
David Harbor, John Leguizamo, Alex Hassel, Alexis Lauder, Leah Brady, Beverly D’Angelo, Eddie Patterson, Cam Gigandet Director: Tommy Wilco pull
Cast: Pat Casey, Josh Miller

Rated R, 1 hour41 minute

Pat Casey and Josh Miller’s script immediately announces its delightfully dry humor brand. The first time we meet this version of Santa, he’s slumped in a Bristol pub, bleary-eyed complaining about his job and berating how materialistic kids have become these days. Still, when he finally gets off the bar stool and onto the roof, the sight of him soaring with his reindeer makes for a magical moment for the bartender who happens to be watching the whole thing…until he’s on the slide in the sleigh Spit it out, all over the face. That’s the kind of Christmas story we want, it’s Violent Night letting you know you can take it or leave it.

Since then, Santa has been prowling around without even the slightest effort, even if he stuffs his face with cookies left for him by all the good kids in the world, full of resentment. But the night takes an unexpected turn when he stops by the Lightstone compound, inhabited by a ruthless businesswoman (Beverly D’Angelo), whose grown children are easily inherited

type of quarrel to please her. (Or maybe it should be The Righteous Gemstones-esque, since the daughter is the Judy Gemstone type played by Judy Gemstone herself, Edi Patterson; Alex Hassell plays the son.)

However, the real threat this Christmas Eve comes from outside the clan: a gang of armed mercenaries has taken the entire family hostage, including a nasty obnoxious influencer (Alexander Elliott) who is already in ‘s advanced age battles a sexual harassment lawsuit — and Trudy (Leah Brady), a kind and intelligent A 7-year-old who has earned a spot on Santa’s “nice” list.

So Santa can’t refuse Trudy’s whispered plea for help and finds himself fighting his way through a building full of bad guys alone. Meanwhile, Trudy, who manages to sneak into the attic, begins improvising traps to protect herself. In other words, Violent Night becomes Die Hard and Home Alone , but with Wirkola’s exaggerated gore directing, their hard-R logic is taken to an extreme. Instead of eliminating his enemies quickly or cleanly, Santa smashes their faces with ornaments and chops their heads off with roller skates, in Jonathan “Jojo” Eusebio John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum ); Trudy turns Kevin McAllister’s already painful booby trap into a gory affair.

Night of Violence

) does show more restraint in narrative, in a relatively trim 87 clock in within minutes. There’s a reason this Santa seems ready for battle, and the main villain (“Mr. Scrooge,” played by John Leguizamo) seems ready to go on vacation. But the movie knows we’re not really going to get bogged down in Scrooge’s psyche or the new Santa lore, so it provides enough detail to add some shade to these characters as they try to beat each other up. Neither does he bother to explain the magic that makes Santa his; as Santa himself wearily explains to one confused adult after another, he also doesn’t know how his Christmas magic works, just knows that it does.

However, this mystical Yuletide spirit is so powerful that its spell eventually reaches the Violent Night itself . Santa may be a wretched self-loather who looks most vividly when he stabs a man in the eye with a candy cane, but Harbor also shows moving sincerity in his interactions with Trudy. Between the graphic violence and twisted jokes, the film actually manages to deliver all the hallmarks of a classic Christmas movie: a reminder that the day is about more than material gifts, the redemptive power of a child’s faith in Santa Claus, the important Sex’s family reunion in a world of greed and selfishness.

The difference is that in this movie, when a little girl’s face is caused by seeing the Santa sign When she shines as one of her sex gear, she loves not his toy bag or reindeer, but his sledgehammer, affectionately named Skullcrusher. And the phrase “Santa Claus is coming to town” is delivered not as a celebratory cry, but as a growl of comical menace.

Calling Violent Night Heartwarming may be a bridge too far. After all, this is still a movie that seems to revolve around the question, “How many Christmas-themed props can we turn into weapons?” (Answer: Most of them, obviously! The next time some eggnog-drinking relative tries your last nerve, try not to think about that Last slice of glazed ham.) But for those who love wine-soaked gingerbread and blood-clotted tinsel, Violent Night Might be just what the season calls for.

Full marks 87

Distributor: Universal Pictures Production company: 101 Northern Productions Cast: David Harbor, John Leguizamo, Alex Alexis Hassel, Alexis Lauder, Leah Brady, Beverly D’Angelo, Eddie Patterson, Cam Gigandet

Director: Tommy WirkolaWriters: Pat Casey, Josh MillerProducers: Kelly McCormick, David Leitch, Guy DanellaExecutive Producer: Marc S. Fischer

Director of Photography: Matthew Weston

Production Designer: Roger Fires

Costume Designer: Laura DeLuca

Edit: Jim Page Music: Dominic Lewis
rated R, 1 hour 41 min

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