Violent Night movie review

If you’re one of those kooks, you may be wondering if all the original ideas for a Christmas movie have dried up. Violent Night takes what they have for granted. The excitement of this cheeky hodgepodge of holiday movies is all mixed up.

An opening scene is Miracle on 34th Street meets Bad Santa, as we see David Harbor drinking pints and going on a foul-mouthed tirade in a Bristol bar while dressed in a dirty Santa suit.

It turns out that Harbor is the real Santa Claus. And, after centuries of jumping down chimneys, he’s as happy as someone that he started watching a holiday movie channel in September.

It falls to a girl to awaken that seasonal magic. The only thing on seven-year-old Trudy (Leah Brady)’s list is for her parents to get back together.

But when a half-cut Santa Claus arrives at the lavish American mansion where he’s spending Christmas night with hideous relatives, he discovers he’s not the only uninvited guest. A gang of armed criminals led by John Leguizamo’s “Mr. Scrooge” is torturing adults to find the family safe.

From here, the film is partly Home Alone, but mostly Die Hard, as Santa reminisces about his past life as a hammer-wielding Viking warrior, taking out thugs one by one.

No item of Christmas paraphernalia is left unassembled and menacing pranks get hilarious festive makeovers.

Not all of the jokes work, but the violence is entertainingly staged, and the ending cleverly marries gory action flick and sweet family drama. It’s an unusual cocktail, but this Christmas movie eggnog drinks down pretty well.

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