Violent Night sees Stranger Things star David Harbor’s Santa kill some bad guys, but the dark comedy ‘satire’ crumbles under scrutiny.
In Violent Night, David Harbour’s Santa Claus kills mercenaries because they’re on the bad guy list, but that judgment doesn’t extend to a family of millionaires who made their fortunes embezzling funds from an oil deal sleazy in the Middle East. Violent Night stars David Harbor as a misanthropic version of Santa Claus who drinks heavily, kills with impunity, and swears a storm. However, despite dark comedy’s attempts to subvert classic Christmas movie cliches, Violent Night’s plot doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. The central premise of Violent Night is that Harbor’s Santa Claus finds himself stranded at the Lightstone residence, where the incredibly wealthy and openly corrupt Lightstone family are held hostage by a group of mercenaries looking to steal their fortunes. Santa soon begins to go after the criminal gang since they’re on his “naughty list”, but Violent Night never explains why the Lightstone family isn’t on the same list for smuggling oil to the Middle East, then stole $300 million in bribes for themselves. This skewed morality ends up derailing the satirical elements of Violent Night, which fall flat when the main plot of the film consists of Santa Claus protecting incredibly wealthy criminals from some less wealthy criminals.
Why Violent Night’s Santa Claus Only Targets Certain Villains
Violent Night never explains how the naughty list works, which means viewers can only assume that some crimes matter more than others. While Violent Night’s Viking Santa backstory explains why Harbour’s version of the jolly Yuletide figure is so adept at hand-to-hand combat, the film never thinks to flesh out why John’s villainous Mr. Scrooge Leguizamo is considered “mean” while Gertrude Lighstone avoids this. label. By comparison, Mr. Scrooge became a career criminal when his family was too poor to buy Christmas presents (it’s unclear why Harbor Santa didn’t deliver presents to them for free) and his self from 11-year-old accidentally helped an elderly man. died stealing presents from under the old man’s tree. In contrast, Gertrude Lightstone stole $300 million from the government through her oil company. The money was intended for various governments in the Middle East during the 1980s, meaning Lightstone would also be personally responsible for millions of deaths in subsequent wars across the region. However, the only characters in Violent Night that Santa Claus targets are the mercenaries trying to steal this money, rather than the criminals who stole it in the first place. Why Santa Claus Never Killed Gertrude Lightstone With A Tree Decoration In The ’80s And Distributed The Money Between Various Middle Eastern Governments (Or Indeed Why He Doesn’t In The Present) is never addressed.
Why Violent Night’s “Satire” Fails
Violent Night is meant to be one of many witty satires that confuse the super-rich and their moral flaws. There’s been a deluge of acclaimed black comedies that fit that description in recent years, from horror-comedy Ready Or Not to murder mystery Knives Out, to Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness, to through subversive horror The Menu (which, incidentally, also stars Leguizamo). However, in Violent Night, wealthy families who embezzle money gain Santa’s tacit approval and personal protection, while mercenaries who try to steal that money are murdered. It’s not a scathing condemnation of the ultra-rich, which means Violent Night’s attempted satire ends in resounding failure.
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Violent Night’s Santa Story Has A Major Plot Hole | Pretty Reel