Review: “Violent Night,” the newest R-rated “Home Alone” [MUSE]


Ryan Zhang

It was hard not to notice the trailers of the new holiday movie as it previewed a blood-soaked figure dressed as Santa Claus relentlessly attacking heavily armed criminals. It instantly reminded me of one of my favorite holiday films, “Home Alone.” The new “Violent Night” movie directed by Tommy Wirkola and starring David Harbour as Santa Claus released on Dec. 2 and takes a whole new turn on the jolly old man we usually know him to be. 

“Violent Night” transforms the well-known “Home Alone” film from the comedic family-friendly film to a gory mess. While the film does pay tribute to the 1990 classic with some weapon references, it takes home defense to a whole new level. From spearing his opponents with candy canes to blowing up criminals, the film is filled to the brim with gruesome combat. Santa is back in town and he isn’t afraid to use what’s in his arsenal. “Violent Night” utilizes terrible jokes, action scenes and elements of horror to make it an engaging story, but it has an undeniably simplistic plot. 

The film begins by introducing us to Santa Claus as an old and agitated man who questions his role within society. It portrays him as someone who has lost meaning in his own work. Later, we see a wealthy family celebrating the holidays with other friends inside a mansion, but an uninvited party joins to ruin the celebration. The group of armed mercenaries take the families hostage to search for a hidden vault full of cash. In the midst of the chaos, Santa arrives and while evaluating the situation, he meets a little girl whose belief in the holiday spirit gives Santa a feeling of purpose. To redeem himself as Santa, he turns his attention to the armed criminals to save the day, ensuing a blood bath. 

I have mixed feelings about the film, but I still think it’s still a good watch. “Violent Night” doesn’t provide a feeling of holiday magic found in most holiday films and seems to be missing something when comparing it to “Home Alone” or other holiday specials like “Elf.” While the action-packed two hours feel like a roller coaster ride with some slow moments and other exciting scenes, there’s nothing memorable about it. However, what it does provide is a thrilling ride of suspense and action. The fight scenes were brutal, the gore was definitely there, and it turns the generic character into his polar opposite making it feel unique in comparison to your average holiday film. It may not become your holiday favorite, but it’s a fun holiday movie to look out for. 

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.