It’s solely pure that for each 80 sunny Christmas movies launched every year there’s a number of that begin with a frown.

“Violent Night” suits that invoice, after which some.

Crass, cynical and drowning in blood, this “Night” is nobody’s concept of a seasonal delight. It’s nonetheless sensible sufficient to scratch that Scrooge-like itch, powered by an actor who finds the fitting stability between “John Wick”-style mayhem and sticky sentiment.

“Stranger Things” star David Harbour is Santa Claus – sure, the real article. He’s drowning his sorrows in a British bar because the story opens, exhausted by grasping children brimming with ingratitude.

Parents know the drill, remembering their children opening a Christmas reward earlier than immediately crying, “what’s next?”

He’s enthusiastic about hanging up his crimson hat when he’s embroiled in a life-or-death wrestle. A rich household’s house is invaded by John Leguizamo and a crew of armed-to-the-teeth thugs. They need their arms on the clan’s money, however matriarch Beverly D’Angelo isn’t budging.

That leaves a divorced couple (Alex Hassell and Alexis Louder) and their lovely daughter (Leah Brady) who nonetheless believes the Big Guy can save all of them.

And, as soon as we see a prologue of Santa’s curious previous as a Viking warrior, he simply would possibly.

Director Tommy Wirkola brings a combined resume to “Violent Night.” His “Dead Snow” didn’t discover that horror-comedy candy spot however its sequel, “Red vs. Dead” positive did. And his underrated 2021 thriller, “The Trip,” made the divorce romp “The War of the Roses” look quaint by comparability.

Here, he’s aided by a adequate script from Pat Casey and Worm Miller. Their screenplay presents some authentic intestine busters, making the following ultra-violence go down easily. The former couple’s potential reunion isn’t wasted, dramatically talking, and each time candy Leah Brady graces the display the story’s sentimental aspect soars.

“Violent Night” may need discovered a house in the course of the Nineteen Eighties given the groan-worthy Christmas puns littering the display. Harbour sells all of them, a miracle unto itself, and he makes the movie’s “violent” tonal shifts matter, too.

That’s no small feat given the movie’s absurdly excessive physique depend.

This hard-R thriller nonetheless desires it each methods. It’s half “Nobody,” half “A Christmas Story,” with an homage to “Home Alone” dumped into the storytelling blender.

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Leguizamo’s character rants towards the wealthy, once more, simply weeks after his “Menu” satirically scorched the one percenters. It’s Hollywood’s favourite, and laziest, goal, and all of the extra curious given the actor’s Hollywood run.

If the always-busy Leguizamo hasn’t amassed a small fortune by now he higher hearth his agent. Stat.

No bloody Christmas story ought to be stretched to almost two hours like “Violent Night” is. And by the ultimate reel we’re exhausted by Harbour explaining away plot contrivances with a cheeky “Christmas magic” explainer.

Still, these searching for a chaotically comedian various to the season’s candy treats will discover “Violent Night” delivers simply that.

HiT or Miss: “Violent Night” is greater than a cheeky movie title. It’s a bloody-soaked try to show Ol’ St. Nick right into a John Wick for the vacations.



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