Violent Night, gory night, all’s not calm

87North Productions’ Violent Night took an iconic holiday icon and made him into a hilariously aggressive, demented and disheveled man.

Victor Serban

87North Productions’ Violent Night took an iconic holiday icon and made him into a hilariously aggressive, demented and disheveled man.

Joseph Pollard, Staff Writer

Ah, Christmas movies. Snow abounds, everyone is happy, and two lovers discover each other and the true meaning of Christmas. It seems like the perfect film to watch with a loved one, bundled up on the couch with hot chocolate, eggnog, and the like.

87 North Productions’ Violent Night, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It bids adieu to the typical formula of romance, joy and warmth found in holiday films. In lieu of these sugarcoated, sickly-sweet tropes, Violent Night focuses on the affluent Lightstone family taken hostage in their own home on Christmas Eve by a gang of robbers. Little to the intruders’ knowledge, there’s a surprise visitor inside: Santa Claus himself. With push coming to shove, the Kringle must fight them off by any means necessary to protect the family — and the Christmas spirit.

Normally, I would turn the other way when movie trailers ran during advertising blocks. Every film (and its trailers) appeared to have similar formulas. Typically, I’d grumble and say something berating modern cinema under my breath. But ever since I saw Saint Nicholas in the flesh beating people up, I knew this was a show I needed to watch. On Tuesday evening, I finally had the pleasure of having the time to watch a flick, and quickly bought a ticket.

The film started out with something I wasn’t expecting at all. Instead of good Saint Nick wrapping up toys for the sleeping children, I saw him drinking at a pub in Bristol, contemplating over a well-needed retirement. Moments after, the drunken Claus mounts his sleigh to deliver gifts, throwing up, cursing and (yes) urinating off the side all the while. Alas, just as he reaches the Lightstone residence, its inhabitants fall in the grasp of the thieves. Roped into a mess he doesn’t seem to get paid enough to deal with, Santa decides to take out those on his “naughty list” with a little encouragement from a young girl named Trudy.

I won’t spoil the plot, but Violent Night mixes the action of combat with dark humor, suspense, and hilarious character interactions — all topped with a gratuitous helping of Christmas spirit. Its fight scenes were gory but enticing, some making me wince in disgust as to just how gruesome they were. The movie brought a humorous spin to even the most dire situations, but was sentimental and pulled on the heartstrings when it needed to.

My only complaint with the film was that a lot of its rising actions seemed stretched out, with less focus on the violence and combat I saw in the trailer. Other than that, however, Violent Night and its juxtaposition with the serenity associated with the holiday season gave me a hilariously gory night to remember. To me, it’s a solid 8/10.

Just don’t watch it if you’re squeamish. Trust me on that one.