What if jolly Saint Nick didn’t feel so jolly all the time? Better yet, what if Saint Nick could kick butt with the best of them? This is essentially the plot of Tommy Wirkola’s (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) Violent Night. Effectively mixing comedy with plenty of gore, the result is a story with a surprising amount of heart.
Disenchanted with his job and sure that today’s kids lack the true Christmas spirit, Santa Claus (David Harbour) gets drunk at an English pub. He begrudgingly does his rounds, eventually arriving in Connecticut at the palatial home of Gertrude Lightstone (Beverly D’Angelo). There, Gertrude’s son Jason (Alex Hassell) is hoping to connect with his estranged wife Linda (Alexis Louder) and spend time with his daughter Trudy (Leah Brady). Other family members at the gathering are Jason’s sister Alva (Edi Patterson), her boyfriend Morgan Steele (Cam Gigandet), and her son Bert (Alexander Elliot). Breaking up the “festivities” are team of mercenaries and inside men, led by Scrooge (John Leguizamo) who quickly take control of the home, with designs on scoring a fortune locked inside a secret vault.
As tension grows inside, Scrooge and company are unaware that Santa is outside doing his rounds, drawn into the fight as those on his “naughty list” attempt to kill the Christmas hero. With help from Trudy, the magic man is more than prepared to fight back.
Butt kicking Santa is hardly a new concept, 2020’s Fatman offered a similar path. Nonetheless, Violent Night follows its own path. Still it takes inspiration from Home Alone with a bit of Die Hard mixed in. \
While the narrative can be a bit disjointed at times—Santa disappears from the story for longer periods than he should—but the film provides enough action to keep the audience engaged. A good cast also helps. While none of the actors stretch themselves, but they add spark to the proceedings. For me, any time Beverly D’Angelo shows up in a film is reason to celebrate.
Presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, this 4K transfer is a strong one. Sharpness is concise throughout. Softness is never an issue. Edge enhancement is minor and digital noise reduction isn’t an issue. Colors are orange and teal, though it leans toward amber for the Christmas set pieces. Hues are replicated nicely and HDR gives tones a nice boost. Blacks are deep and inky. There are no apparent print flaws.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack delivers an immersive experience. The action scenes offered a nice punch and clarity. dialogue is clean, clear and concise. Effects offered nice impact and music shows nice range.
English, Spanish, French, French Canadian, Japanese, German, Italian, Czech and Chinese subtitles are available.
The following extras are included on the 4K disc:
- Audio Commentary with Director Tommy Wirkola, Producer Guy Danella, and Writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 19:02)
- Quarrelin’ Kringle Featurette (HD, 3:45)
- “Santa’s Helpers” Featurette (HD, 0:56)
- Deck the Halls with Brawls Featurette (HD, 6:04)