If you’re one of those nutcases, you’ll be wondering if all the original ideas for a Christmas movie have been used up. Violent Night takes it as read that they have. The thrills of this brazen mish-mash of festive flicks are all in the blend.
An opening scene is Miracle On 34th Street meets Bad Santa, as we watch David Harbour downing pints and delivering a foul-mouthed rant in a Bristol bar while dressed in a filthy Santa suit.
Harbour, it turns out, is the real Santa. And, after centuries of vaulting into chimneys, he’s as Christmassed out as someone who started watching a festive movie channel in September.
It falls to one little girl to reawaken that seasonal magic. The only thing on seven-year-old Trudy’s list (Leah Brady) is for her parents to get back together.
But when a half-cut Santa rolls up at the posh mansion in America where she’s spending Christmas night with horrible relatives, he discovers he’s not the only uninvited guest. A gang of gun-toting criminals led by John Leguizamo’s “Mr Scrooge” are torturing the grown-ups for the location of the family safe.
From here, the film is part Home Alone but mostly Die Hard as Santa remembers his past life as a hammer-wielding Viking warrior and picks off the goons one by one.
No item of Christmas paraphernalia is left unweaponised and threatening wisecracks get amusing festive makeovers.
Not all the jokes work but the violence is entertainingly staged, and the finale deftly stitches together the gory action movie and the sweet family drama. It’s an unusual cocktail but this eggnog of a Christmas flick goes down rather smoothly.