Violent Night

Watch Violent Night

"You better watch out."
  • R
  • 2022
  • 1 hr 52 min
  • 6.7  (97,752)
  • 55

"Violent Night" is a 2022 darkly comedic action thriller with a holiday twist, starring David Harbour in the role of Santa Claus, but not as we traditionally know him. In this unconventional Christmas tale, Harbour plays a Santa who's more rugged, disillusioned, and rough around the edges than the jolly old Saint Nick familiar to children's storybooks. John Leguizamo and Beverly D'Angelo also star in pivotal roles, rounding out a cast that brings a gritty and unanticipated edge to this festive narrative.

Set on Christmas Eve, "Violent Night" deviates from the typical joy and peace narrative associated with the holiday season, plunging the audience into an action-packed scenario that's marked by chaos and unexpected turns. The story revolves around a wealthy family gathering for the holidays at a grand, isolated estate. As the Lightstone family's internal dynamics just begin to reveal themselves, including squabbles and the pressure of their social status, the evening takes a terrifying turn.

The supposed peace is shattered when a group of highly skilled mercenaries breaks into the Lightstone family's compound. Their leader, played by John Leguizamo, is a cold, calculating adversary with a clear plan and no qualms about shedding blood to get what they came for. The intruders' plan is simple: hold the family hostage and force them to open their vault, expecting a sizable haul from their Christmas crime, calculating every move with the precision of seasoned criminals.

However, what they did not account for is Santa Claus himself being at the home, delivering gifts. Harbour's Santa is far from the traditional cookie-loving, sleigh-riding emblem of Christmas cheer. When the mercenaries disrupt his yearly routine, they awaken a side of Santa that the world has not seen before. Drawing upon a past that deviates from the mythical persona we all know, Santa becomes an unexpected protector of the Lightstone family.

Beverly D'Angelo portrays the family matriarch, a woman who, despite her opulent lifestyle and commanding presence, is faced with the reality of her family's life in danger. She delivers a performance that oscillates between formidable strength and the vulnerability of a maternal figure desperate to ensure her family's safety.

As the night progresses, the idyllic Christmas setting transforms into a backdrop for an intense game of cat and mouse, with Santa Claus demonstrating a set of particular skills that go beyond managing elves and delivering toys. Harbour's portrayal of Santa is nuanced, blending weariness with a lingering sense of duty and an unexpected propensity for combat, all while maintaining a dark sense of humor that undercuts the tension of the deadly standoff.

The film is directed with a keen eye for both action and comedy by Tommy Wirkola, known for his work on "Dead Snow" and "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters." Wirkola manages to balance the film's gruesome and high-octane scenes with moments of levity that poke fun at holiday traditions and the absurdity of the situation. The tone of "Violent Night" oscillates between brutal and farcical, resulting in a movie that defies easy categorization.

What sets "Violent Night" apart from other Christmas movies is its unapologetic embrace of genre blending. It's a film that mashes together the heartwarming elements of the holiday with the thrills of a die-hard action movie and doesn't shy away from the bloodshed that comes with it. But amidst the violence and dark humor, there's still a thread of redemption and the enduring sort of Christmas spirit that speaks to the possibility of change and unexpected miracles—even if it comes through unorthodox means.

Not only does "Violent Night" offer a refreshing and adrenalizing take on the often overly sentimental holiday genre, but it also questions what we consider to be the essential qualities of our most beloved holiday myths and characters. It examines themes of consumerism, family bonding or its lack thereof, and the true meaning of Christmas—all under the guise of an action thriller where Santa Claus showcases a diametrically different heroism from climbing down the chimney bearing gifts.

"Violent Night" delivers an explosive concoction of heart, humor, and full-throttle action, served up with a wink and a nod to the audience. Notwithstanding its rough edges and visceral scenes, it also captures the notion that even the most cynical and battle-weary among us can find a glimmer of hope and reason to fight on a silent, holy night. Whether you're in it for the holiday cheer, the cinematic thrills, or just to see David Harbour in a red suit dispensing justice, "Violent Night" throws a haymaker at conventional Christmas storytelling and revels in every punch.

Violent Night is a 2022 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 52 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 55.

Violent Night
Where to Watch Violent Night
Violent Night is available to watch, stream, download and buy, rent on demand at Peacock Premium, Google Play, Apple TV, Microsoft Movies & TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Violent Night for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 52 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (97,752)
  • Metascore