The action-comedy film “Violent Night” is mostly like the usual Christmas stories of love and togetherness, except there’s a modern world shine to it. That and also the fact that it essentially tells the story of an alcoholic and foul-mouthed Santa who steps up to protect a family by brutally killing off a team of mercenaries holding them captive. There are moments in the film that are intentionally foolish and funny, especially with regard to the characters of the Lightstone family, and yet there are moments that feel too stretched. Overall, “Violent Night” is a mixed watch, tolerable for the farcical comedy but with uneven drama that has no effect.
‘Violent Night’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
On the evening of Christmas Eve, an old man is shown sitting with a drink inside a pub in Bristol. This man, dressed in a very appropriate Santa Claus outfit and also with a big gray beard akin to Saint Nick, has had a lot to drink but wants to keep going. The friendly bartender and another man in similar clothes make conversation with this man and ask him if he has been going around dressed as Santa, presumably in shopping malls and other public places, for long. The man replies that he has been but is very let down by the consumerist nature of Christmas in present times, with the spirit of the festival waning away. After some time, he gets up and leaves the pub, but through the door on the rooftop. As the bartender runs behind him to show the drunk man the right way, she is astonished to see an actual eight-reindeer sleigh carry the man into the night sky, making it clear that he is indeed Santa Claus himself.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Greenwich, Connecticut, the Lightstone family gathers for a Christmas celebration at their large family mansion. At the center of this family, in the perspective of ‘Violent Night,’ is Jason, his separated wife Linda, and their young daughter Trudy, who all meet after quite some time presumably, to drive to Jason’s mother, Gertrude Lightstone’s house. Despite all coming together to spend time, the festive spirit is clearly lacking in this family, probably because of the huge amount of money and wealth they own. It is this wealth that soon brings imminent danger upon the family when a group of mercenaries takes the house and all the members hostage. The leader of this group, calling himself Mr. Scrooge, intends to steal all the money possible from the mansion and also to make it a very violent night.
Who Are The Mercenaries? Why Are They At Lightstone Mansion?
On the negative side of the film’s plot is the group of mercenaries who make their way into the Lightstone mansion to steal a large sum of $300 million. This group is headed by a man named Jimmy Martinez and keeping in mind the festive day, all these men and women refer to each other by appropriate names for the occasion. Jimmy becomes Mr. Scrooge, in resemblance with perhaps the biggest hater of Christmas in English literature, and his team members are accordingly called Gingerbread, Candy Cane, Sugarplum, Krampus, and so on. This team had prepared for months to execute this heist and, on this particular day, had got access into the heavily guarded mansion by pretending to be the catering service hired for the family party. Gingerbread had also been appointed the butler of this family, and he seems to have been the source through which the rest of his team members were hired. While Mr. Scrooge, the mastermind behind all of it, had made this plan to get hold of the money, there is a particular reason behind his choosing this very auspicious day of Christmas Eve for the heist. When Jimmy was a young boy, his family used to celebrate Christmas every year until that one fateful year when his father was laid off from work. The family could no longer celebrate Christmas, but the festive lights and decorations from the neighbor’s house seemed like mockery to young Jimmy. On the night of Christmas Eve, he snuck into the neighbor’s house to steal, but the old grandfather saw him and fell down the stairs out of sudden fear. While the old man died in the accident, everyone was sure that Jimmy had done it, and nobody believed his words. As Mr. Scrooge now, Jimmy controls a slight emotional outburst of not being believed when wrongly accused of murder as a child, and he toughens up, saying that he might have, after all, killed the man. Either way, that horrid Christmas Eve had destroyed his entire life, and he had therefore grown up with a terrible grudge against Christmas and its festivities. This was the reason he was out on Christmas Eve—to spoil the night of celebrations for everyone else.
There is also the reason for the Lightstone family to have such immense wealth, as mentioned in “Violent Night.” These people, who are taken hostage by the so-called evil people, are not that good either, for the matriarch Gertrude ran their corporate business with a typical lack of concern for any of her workers’ well-being. She was also in business directly with the US government to do the latter’s dirty work by distributing illegal funds to certain individuals in Arab countries, who ensured that the US would get their oil without any worries. This was all supposedly illegal activity, which did not give a single care about exploiting people, and Gertrude was right at the center of it all. The woman had also kept a private army of security personnel, referred to as the “kill squad,” which looked after the protection and probably unlawful needs of her and her family. However, this kill squad, headed by a man named Thorp, had also been bought over by Mr. Scrooge, and when the private squad finally appears in the film, they hunt down Gertrude and the money. It is not that Gertrude is protective of her family members; it seems like the woman only cares about her corporate business and would be ready to throw anyone under the bus to protect it. All of her family members also give off that same aura, especially her daughter Alva and her current boyfriend, Morgan. Alva is hungry to take over the family business at the earliest, for she yearns for wealth and refuses to believe that Morgan is there with her only for money. Morgan, on the other hand, is definitely only there for the money, and he tries to escape the house and the family at the earliest chance, only to be killed by Thorp. Both of them have bizarre Christmas gifts for Gertrude—Morgan gives her something he calls a pitch deck, which is basically a roundabout way of asking for money for a film he wants to make and act in, and he says that this is like an investment with great returns. Alva gifts her mother a picture of them from when she was a newborn baby to make her feel emotional about her daughter and give her some of the wealth. As can be guessed, both of these attempts failed. Jason is much more restrained in his wishes and demands, as his biggest wish still seems to be to get back together with his estranged wife, Linda. However, he also has the craziness of the Lightstone family, as is soon revealed when it is found out that he had stolen the entire $300 million from the secret underground safe. Linda is the most sensible adult in the whole ruckus, without any doubt, and their daughter Trudy seems to have gone her mother’s way. The young girl still believes in Santa Claus, and through a toy walkie-talkie, she informs him of their danger, but she never expects that the man will actually reply to her.
How Does Santa Come To The Rescue Of Trudy And Her Family?
Santa Claus in “Violent Night” also seems to have a history of his own, which is rather different from the usual portrayals of the jolly old man. In this film, Santa actually used to be a ferocious Viking raider and warrior named Nikamund the Red. During his time in this role, the man had butchered many without any guilt or mercy but now regrets this past. It is almost like the man drinks away and reluctantly goes around giving gifts and meting out punishment to good and bad kids, respectively, only to stay away from this past. But he does not want to get involved in being a savior, for when he accidentally gets stuck at the Lightstone mansion, Santa just tries to carve his escape through the mercenaries who try to kill him. It is only when he notices the young girl Trudy and then when she asks for his help through her walkie-talkie that Santa decides to save the family. He still has doubts about his actions, though, as he tells Trudy about his past role and all the evil he had done at the time, and again, it is the little child who encourages him. Trudy says that Santa could now do good deeds by making use of his skills from the past and therefore begins Santa’s journey as a brutal protector. As Nikamund the Red, he used to carry a trusted sledgehammer with him, which he had dearly named Skullcrusher. Later in the film, Santa gets hold of a similar sledgehammer from a tool shed and starts to use it to take down the evil mercenaries. Along with his own skills as a warrior, Santa is also helped by Trudy, who makes traps inspired from the “Home Alone” films and somehow gets the bad guys away from the family. Throughout “Violent Night,” Santa and the rest of the individuals also make use of various Christmas decoration ornaments and items as weapons, ranging from tinsels to baubles to sharp icicles. Mr. Scrooge and Thorp try to escape with the money, which Jason had hidden under decorations and had then revealed under pressure from the goons. Santa goes after the two and indulges in heavy fighting, managing to kill Mr. Scrooge by teleporting with him through the chimney, which happens to be one of his many supernatural powers. Thorp is next, and this man is instead shot dead by his angry employer, whom he had betrayed, Gertrude Lightstone, but not before he fatally shoots Santa.
‘Violent Night’ Ending Explained: Does Trudy Save Santa Claus?
As Santa falls down on the ground, bleeding profusely from the gunshot wounds, he is almost certain that his time is up. Despite initially having planned to run away with all the 300 million dollars and take Linda and Trudy along, Jason now brings in a pile of the money to burn and provide warmth for the dying Santa. It is young Trudy who comes to the old man’s rescue yet again, as she exclaims how she has all belief and faith in Santa, and her mother Linda also joins in support. She tells Jason that Santa saved her daughter and all of them, which is enough proof for her to believe in his legend. Soon enough, Jason, Alva, her son from an earlier marriage, Bertrude, and Gertrude herself all join in, exclaiming that they all believe in Santa Claus. This leads to an astonishing Christmas miracle, and Santa recovers from all his pains. He himself admits that he has still not been able to understand how these miracles work and thanks Trudy for keeping belief and faith in him. His sleigh, pulled by the eight reindeer, which had earlier abandoned him at the mansion, now returns with a loving note from Mrs. Santa, who has been his wife for 1,100 years now. Finally, as he flies away, Trudy is elated that the only thing she had asked for this Christmas is now in front of her—all she had wanted was for her parents to reconcile and become a couple again, and Jason and Linda had rekindled their love amidst all this crisis. What happens to the rest of the money is not mentioned, and it is most likely that it returns to Gertrude and her family. In a mid-credits’ scene, Bertrude is seen making a video about his rich lifestyle, this time with the dead body of Thorp, and telling his followers to believe in Santa and Christmas. This perhaps makes it clear that the obnoxious Lightstones are never going to change.
“Violent Night” is a 2022 Comedy Thriller film directed by Tommy Wirkola.