Where I watched It: Peacock
English Audio Description?: Yes
When you hear john Wick meets Home Alone, you think that’s a crazy combination, but somehow not. Kevin McAllister probably grew up to be a John Wick. By the way, I would totally love to see a Home Alone with Macaulay Culkin as a grown up Kevin McAllister who is a contract killer…but only at Christmas. Also, no more home Alone movies unless Culkin is coming back as the dad, and Catherine O’Hara as Grandma. I’d mention John Heard, but sadly he passed a while back.
So violent Night is Santa kicking ass. That’s what it is. not a mall Santa, but actual Santa, played by David Harbor. He gets stuck in a house full of entitled rich assholes and an adorable little girl, and it’s up to him to save the day, in a very R rated brutal fashion. He’s not a Santa you want your kids to know about.
Harbor wouldn’t be my natural pick for Santa, though i think he does a good job. Personally, I would have loved to see a more creative choice, but I’m sure Harbor’s ability to do the fight choreography mattered.
Look, this is mindless fun. john Leguizamo plays the main bad guy, and he’s got a backstory that somehow makes him close to relatable, a little like Eric Killmonger has a point in Black Panther. Just, his execution is the problem. But, Santa gives zero shits, and will massacre his crew before the night is done. I’m sure a sequel is in the works.
My one problem with this might be over thinking on my part, especially since one of my favorite critics put this in his top 10 of the year. Bold choice. I love bold choices. But, Harbor’s Santa is so much not like Santa, that he is a bit of a drunken buffoon. When he’s first presented with the need to defend himself, he almost kills the person by accident. Later, we get this massive unnecessary backstory about how he once was a badass, and it makes his whole character seem questionable. Like, Reeves in john Wick is just trying to live a normal life with his puppy, and he’s not about that life anymore, and same for Liam Neeson in Taken. But, Harbor talks about this past of his, and yet he still approaches this film as if Chris Farley was still alive, and this film had been written for him.
It’s not that his character is a turn off, i just do not understand the need to build up a backstory that does not support his character. It’s baffling. but, this film doesn’t want you to think, it wants you to accept the premise, and shut your mind down. This is the closest to Snakes On A Plane we’ve gotten in years, where the film is inherently stupid, but the premise is played knowing that, and that’s what makes the whole thing fun.
The audio description is a necessity considering the many fight sequences, and deaths. Also, Santa is unarmed, so he kind of Jackie Chan’s his way through the house, using whatever is near him at the time, even if it’s not your typical weapon. He is a lot like a grown up Kevin in that way, booby trapping with all the extra stuff a rich family has and can keep when they own a giant house.
You can wait till next Christmas if you want, but violent Night is totally worth any day of the year. It’s a good time, even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense.
Final Grade: B+
One thought on “Violent Night”
Loved it. Exactly what I hoped for in “counter-programming” at the Holidays. Just turned the logical part of the brain off and enjoyed the slay ride.