Violent Night is a 2022 American Christmas action comedy film directed by Tommy Wirkola and written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller. It follows Santa Claus (portrayed by David Harbour) as he fights mercenaries who have taken a wealthy family hostage in their home. The film also stars John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, and Beverly D'Angelo.
|Directed by||Tommy Wirkola|
|Edited by||Jim Page|
|Music by||Dominic Lewis|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$76.6 million|
Violent Night had its world premiere at the New York Comic Con on October 7, 2022. Universal Pictures released the film in theaters in the United States on December 2, 2022. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $76.6 million worldwide. A sequel is in development.
In Greenwich, Connecticut, Jason Lightstone and his estranged wife Linda take their daughter Trudy to his mother Gertrude's mansion for a Christmas gathering. They overhear Trudy's wish for family unity through an old walkie-talkie. Other family members at the gathering are Jason's sister Alva, her boyfriend Morgan Steel, and her son Bert. Meanwhile, Santa Claus arrives at the estate, just as a group of mercenaries, led by "Mr. Scrooge," raid the house with some of them having posed as caterers and take the family hostage after killing the staff.
Discovered by the mercenary Tinsel, Santa's reindeer are frightened off as Santa kills Tinsel by causing him to be impaled by an icicle. Stranded, he decides to rescue Trudy and her family from Scrooge, who wants $300 million cash hidden in a vault in the mansion. After killing the mercenary Frosty, Santa takes his radio and finds Trudy's channel. He then finds that the mercenaries are on his "naughty list." When Scrooge discovers that Trudy has been talking with Santa on her walkie-talkie, Jason denies Santa's existence, and a distraught Trudy runs past the kidnappers and successfully hides in the attic. Santa reassures her over the radio, revealing to her his ancient Viking past.
Wounded Santa is captured by Scrooge, who hates Christmas. Recognizing their real identities, Santa convinces henchmen Gingerbread and Candy Cane of his authenticity and escapes magically, although his magic sack is burned. Gertrude's "kill squad," led by Commander Thorp, arrives and kills Morgan upon revealing their allegiance to Scrooge. Discovering an empty vault, Scrooge threatens Linda. Jason admits he stole the money, hidden in an outdoor nativity, and planned to flee with his family. Gertrude forgives him, revealing this as a Lightstone family rite of passage and naming him her heir.
In a shed, Santa finds a sledgehammer and eliminates the kill squad. Trudy sets up Home Alone-inspired traps, leading to Gingerbread's death. Santa kills Candy Cane before she can shoot Trudy. Alva, Linda, and Bert thwart Scrooge's order to kill hostages by killing Krampus. Scrooge and Thorp escape into the woods with Gertrude and the money, pursued by Santa, who kills Peppermint. Linda kills Jingle, and Trudy witnesses her parents' reunion. Santa and Scrooge fight in a cabin; as they grapple, a badly-wounded Santa magically flies up the chimney, mangling Scrooge’s body and killing him.
Thorp shoots Santa but is killed by Gertrude. Despite using burnt money for warmth, Santa succumbs to the gunshot wounds. Trudy rallies her family to affirm their belief in Santa, reviving him. Confused by the magic but renewed in faith, Santa receives his returning reindeer, a note from Mrs. Claus, and a new gift sack. He bids Trudy farewell and continues his gift deliveries.
In a mid-credits scene, Bert vlogs next to a dead mercenary, telling his viewers that Santa is real and warning them to behave during Christmas.
- David Harbour as Santa Claus
- John Leguizamo as Scrooge
- Alex Hassell as Jason
- Alexis Louder as Linda
- Edi Patterson as Alva
- Cam Gigandet as Morgan Steel
- Leah Brady as Trudy
- Beverly D'Angelo as Gertrude
- Ray Strachen as Al
- André Eriksen as Gingerbread
- Brendan Fletcher as Krampus
- Mike Dopud as Commander Thorp
- Alexander Elliot as Bert
- Mitra Suri as Candy Cane
- Can Aydin as Frosty
- Phong Giang as Tinsel
- Finn McCager Higgins as Jingle
- Rawleigh Clements-Willis as Peppermint
- Stephanie Sy as Sugarplum
In March 2020, Universal Pictures announced that it acquired the original screenplay to Violent Night by Pat Casey and Josh Miller and that 87North Productions would produce. In November 2021, David Harbour was cast in the lead role, with Tommy Wirkola set to direct. Wirkola was hired to direct after he sent an early cut of his prior film The Trip to producers at 87North, and after enjoying it, they sent him the Violent Night script. In early 2022, John Leguizamo, Beverly D'Angelo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet, and André Eriksen were confirmed to star. The shooting of the film took place from January–March 2022.
Home media edit
Violent Night was released on VOD on December 20, 2022. The film was added to Peacock on January 20, 2023. That same day, it became available for digital purchase, while the Blu-ray and DVD release followed on January 24. 
Box office edit
The film was projected to gross around $10 million from 3,682 theaters in its opening weekend. it made $4.9 million on its first day, including $1.1 million from Thursday night previews, and went on to debut to $13.5 million, finishing second behind holdover Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The film fell 37% in its sophomore weekend to $8.7 million, remaining in second.
Critical reception edit
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 74% based on 208 reviews with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website's critics consensus reads "Violent Night isn't as wildly entertaining as its concept might suggest, but for those seeking harder-edged holiday fare, it may be a ho-ho-whole lot of fun." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 55 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Opening weekend audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 76%.
MovieWeb wrote, "The first reviews... heap praise on David Harbour's savage Santa Claus." Syfy wrote that "critics hail what might be a new holiday classic that more than earns its R-rating by turning every conceivable Christmas item into a deadly weapon" and that Harbour "steals the show". Total Film wrote that reviews were mixed, "Some critics are calling Tommy Wirkola's movie a fun riff on the festive genre, while others are critical of its plot and length." Box Office Mojo said, "Critics mostly like it."
In November 2022, Harbour mentioned that there were discussions of Mrs. Claus appearing in a potential sequel during production of the first film. The actor expressed interest in seeing Charlize Theron in the role. In December of the same year, Wirkola confirmed that there have been ongoing discussions between him and the writers; with potential for Mrs. Claus, the North Pole, and the elves factoring into the story. The filmmaker stated that the realization of a follow-up movie depends on the success of the first film. Later that month, producer Kelly McCormick confirmed that all creatives involved intend to make a sequel with work on the project commencing in "the next few weeks". In January 2023, it was confirmed that a sequel is already in the works.
See also edit
- Gleiberman, Owen (November 29, 2022). "'Violent Night' Review: David Harbour Stars in Your Basic, Everyday Heist Meets Bloody Action Santa Meets 'Home Alone' Christmas Thriller". Variety. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
- "Violent Night (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 2023-03-06.
- Rubin, Rebecca (November 30, 2022). "Box Office: David Harbour's 'Violent Night' Aims for $10 Million Debut, but No Match for 'Wakanda Forever'". Variety. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
- "Violent Night (2022)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
- "Violent Night (2022)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
- "Story | Violent Night". Universal Pictures. 29 October 2022. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
- Fleming, Mike Jr (March 3, 2020). "Universal Lands Violent Night Pitch By Sonic The Hedgehog Scribes Pat Casey & Josh Miller". Deadline Hollywood.
- Welk, Brian (November 16, 2021). "David Harbour to Star in Holiday Action Film Violent Night". TheWrap.
- Davids, Brian (December 6, 2022). "Violent Night Director Tommy Wirkola Explains How 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters' Paved the Way for His Second Studio Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. PMRC.
- Kit, Borys (February 14, 2022). "John Leguizamo, Beverly D'Angelo Join David Harbour in Violent Night (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Grobar, Matt (March 10, 2022). "Violent Night: Edi Patterson & Cam Gigandet Join David Harbour In Universal Pictures' Holiday Thriller". Deadline Hollywood.
- Grobar, Matt (April 25, 2022). "Meghan Leathers Joins Paramount+ Crime Thriller Finestkind; Universal's Holiday Thriller Violent Night Adds André Eriksen". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
- King, Randall (November 20, 2021). "A Christmas thriller? Stranger things have happened". Winnipeg Free Press.
- McCall, Kevin (September 14, 2022). "David Harbour's Holiday Flick Violent Night to Screen at NYCC". Collider.
- Prange, Stephanie (January 13, 2023). "'Violent Night' Headed to Digital Jan. 20, Disc Jan. 24". Media Play News. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
- McClintock, Pamela (December 2, 2022). "Box Office: 'Violent Night' Unwraps $1.1M in Thursday Evening Previews". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 4, 2022). "'Wakanda Forever' Overperforms During Sleepy December Weekend; 'Violent Night' Too With $13M+ – Sunday Box Office Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 11, 2022). "Weekend Box Office At $38M, Near 2022 Low Before 'Avatar: The Way Of Water' Soaks Up All The Air – Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood.
- "Violent Night". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
- "Violent Night Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
- Fuge, Jonathan (November 30, 2022). "Violent Night Reviews Heap Praise on David Harbour's Action-Fueled Santa Claus". MovieWeb.
- Weiss, Josh (November 30, 2022). "Violent Night\u0027: Critics say David Harbour is 'a Santa for the ages' in merrily bloody Christmas romp". Syfy. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
- Watson, Fay (December 1, 2022). "Violent Night's reviews call it an R-rated version of Die Hard meets Home Alone". Total Film. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
- Mendelsohn, Sam (December 4, 2022). "'Violent Night's' Solid $13 Million Start Can't Top 'Wakanda Forever's' $18 Million In Another Slow Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
- Reyes, Mike (November 30, 2022). "Violent Night's David Harbour Has The Perfect Mrs. Claus Dream Cast For A Potential Sequel". CinemaBlend. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
- Davids, Brian (December 6, 2022). "'Violent Night' Director Tommy Wirkola Explains How 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters' Paved the Way for His Second Studio Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
- Oddo, Marco Vito (December 2, 2022). "'Violent Night 2': Producer Hopes to Start Working on Sequel in a Few Weeks". Colider. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
- "Violent Night 2 Is Already in the Works, Get Ready". 2023-01-23. Retrieved 2023-01-28.