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The Hollywood Insider Violent Night Review

Photo: ‘Violent Night’

It’s Halloween time…which basically means it’s the pre-Christmas season. Everyone always seems so eager to get the festivities going for the holiday season as early as possible. Though it can be annoying to have the spirit shoved in your face too soon, there’s something very interesting coming down Santa Claus lane that just might make the loudness worth it. Releasing on December 2nd is a brand new film called: ‘Violent Night.’ The trailer dropped just a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like this is going to be one sleigh ride you can’t miss. 

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The general description for this film is ‘Die Hard,’ but with Santa Claus. Though it’s only a few words, it tells you just what you need to know going into this movie. It’s a brilliant idea, molding the genres of typical Christmas films and action-based fests, along with that extra special fantasy that can only come from Santa Claus. And who is playing the lead character? Why it’s none other than ‘Stranger Things’ actor, Chief Jim Hopper himself, David Harbour. Based on the released material, it looks like his version of Santa Claus will be unlike any we’ve seen before. That’s a pretty big promise, and we can only hope that the ultimate product delivers. 

The Magic of a Christmas Movie

Christmas is such a dominating holiday,  it tends to bring in a plethora of new, mostly cheesy films every year. When it comes to the Christmas season, the main projects that gain popularity are either nostalgia-based or sappy rom-com. Not this one though! ‘Violent Night’ looks like it’ll make a wonderful addition to the Christmas movie line-up, harnessing the typical whimsy Christmas films tend to need to elicit, but adding in a bolder, more violent twist. 

A big element of ‘Violent Night’ is its play on the classic film, ‘Die Hard.’ The given premise is that mercenaries break into a family compound, taking everyone hostage, causing Santa Claus to have to come and save the day. Much like John McClane, he’ll save the day the only way he sees possible – with violence. ‘Die Hard’ has been debated time and time again over whether it’s a true Christmas movie or not. Additionally, it’s been joked that people say their favorite Christmas movie is ‘Die Hard’ just to sound cooler. For ‘Violent Night,’ there’ll be no debate over what type of movie it is or if it’s true to its chosen genre. Furthermore, it stands as an example of how Christmas movies can still have the magic of the season without feeling repetitive or predictable. Based on the trailer, we can see all the classic elements of Santa Claus/Christmas films: the naughty and nice lists, the reindeer, and Santa coming through the chimney. He just might be coming down the chimney to have to defeat some of the bad guys. The ingredients are already there from past favorites, but they’ve been spun together in a whole new recipe. A recipe that appears to be set up for success. 

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Here Comes Santa Claus

Santa Claus has been depicted in fiction time and time again, but it’s hard to remember whether St. Nick is an actual historical figure. As years have passed, we’ve gotten to explore all sides a Santa Claus can have. From the voice of reason in ‘Elf,’ to the deer discriminator in ‘Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer,’ to now the more violently-inclined version. It’s hard to tackle such a well-known character, but Harbour has the skills to bring a new personality to Father Christmas. Harbour has the specific “I’m grumpy, but I still care” persona he’s able to bring to many of his characters. He can throw punches, but he also has comedic timing, as shown in his role as the Red Guardian in ‘Black Widow.’ That versatility is brought everywhere, and this shade of Santa is going to be one we’ve never seen before. 

‘Violent Night’ will be stacked with one-liners and allusions to classic Christmas quotes and songs, just look at the title. Who better to deliver these one-liners than Santa Claus himself? My personal favorite edition is how this Santa ends up tying his hair back to keep it out of the way when fighting. Moreover, it looks like there will be a bunch of tiny details woven into this depiction, calling back to the caricature of Santa Claus the media has created in past years. It’s no secret that this Santa will be one willing to get his hands, or beard, dirty. “Violent” is in the title, after all. 

Silent Night, Violent Night

John Leguizamo is slated to play the leader of the mercenaries, no doubt taking some inspiration from the late Alan Rickman. Rounding out the rest of the cast is: Beverly D’Angelo, Cam Gigandet, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, and Edi Patterson. No doubt these actors will make the most out of the screenplay, written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller. Additionally, Tommy Wirkola is in the director’s chair. He was behind several other inventive films, such as ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’ and ‘What Happened to Monday.’ The main test of this entry is whether or not it will meet the expectations it has set out for itself, especially since everything we know so far looks so promising. Only time will tell. 

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There are so many new and engaging titles releasing this upcoming December, and I can only hope that this one will stand out among the rest. It has all the makings of a new Christmas classic, and that’s a tough list to make. The Santa Claus plus action plus David Harbour equation will hopefully equal something dazzling. So, in conclusion, keep an eye out for ‘Violent Night’ this holiday season. If you ever have a yearning for some new Christmas magic, and some action thrown into the mix, this could be the perfect movie night option for you!

By Rachel Beltowski

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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