Violent Night [Grade: 91.25%]

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Story By: Pat Casey & Josh Miller

Cast: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Leah Brady, Alex Hassell, Beverly D’ Angelo, Edi Patterson, Alexis Louder, Cam Gigandet, & Alexander Elliot

* * *

What a wild holiday surprise. This was clever, and I appreciated it. 

* * *

Theme & Story: A

Pacing: A

Character: A

Overall “Paper” Score: A

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Worth the $$$

Comedy Movie Fans: Interesting Enough

Violent Move Fans: Worth the $$$

Experience Seekers (Gore & Laughs): Worth the $$$

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. Santa Claus is stuck in a situation where he must not only save himself, but also Christmas, and a family caught in a surprise hostage situation. This is Violent Night. 

The messaging that stood out for me seemed to be a counter argument to sentiments held by political theorist/philosopher Thomas Hobbes regarding people being wicked and greedy by nature, and the importance of understanding human complexity, and the negative impact individualism can have on us and others. This was executed quite well. 

I personally found the entire film to be solid. Though it didn’t take itself too seriously in the idea, it took itself seriously in the messaging throughout which saved the overall experience and execution for me. 👍🏾👍🏾

2. That twist…😯

3. Santa was tearing they asses UP! 😂😂

4. OMG! That star scene… … …🫣

5. Violent Night has a runtime of 102 minutes, and it’s a pretty wild and violent time—so it lives up to its title. 

The film moves well thematically, which I appreciated so much. The seed is planted in Act One, and the film is paced to allow the theme to manifest in authentic ways via characters and situations as the film progressed. 👍🏾👍🏾

6. The holiday names with the villains were so cute. 🤗

7. Not the wrapping paper and bow as bandage. 😂

8. Baby, I was with Alva! Not the money! 😂

9. Chile…that candy cane weapon… … 🫣

10. David Harbour was an amazing Santa Claus. Hands down! There was such a cool ass, gritty, progressive realist vibe in his performance of Santa that just worked so well with this particular context. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

John Leguizamo was another great performance. I truly enjoyed him as this “jolly-jaded” villain. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

In terms of thematic followthrough, every character played a role in carrying the theme to the end. There’s Harbour’s character who was starting to have those Hobbesian ideals, and went through a revitalization through the experience of the plot. Also, through Harbour’s character, we learn about other characters who also serve as the reason for Santa’s feelings in the first place. 👍🏾👍🏾

John Leguizamo’s character was a great example of this human complexity in regards to his actions, feelings, and perspective on Christmas in general which served as the rationale behind his Hobbesian behavior. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾

Alex Hassell’s character brought in the individualism piece of the theme along with the human complexity and Hobbesian behavior. 👍🏾👍🏾

I mean, the characters truly felt intentionally thought out. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

* * *

Overall #ViolentNight gives Halloween – meets Bad Santa – meets Richie Rich – meets Miracle on 34th Street – meets Robot Chicken

Honestly, if you are looking for a good R-rated holiday movie, Violent Night checks off all the boxes. It’s Egg Nog… but spiked. So the children can’t have any. 

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