Violet Night vs Christmas Bloody Christmas
Dirs. Tommy Wirkola /Joe Begos
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Go on, you beautiful b@stards, we have work to do.” Violent Night
“The US defence department has spent over $100 trillion on the most cutting edge robot technology…” Christmas Bloody Christmas
Let’s get ready to rumble… Here we have two new ‘killer’ Christmas films that are putting the violence into the festive season… Both have strong pitches - Violent Night being Die Hard where Santa is a foul-mouthed John McClane taking on gun-packing mercenaries very violently, whilst Christmas Bloody Christmas is a Terminator / Hardware effort with a robot Santa going on a berserk axe killing spree!? Prepare for less snowballs and more body parts to be flying…
Violent Night (Wirkola) sees Kris Kringle, (David ‘Stranger Things’ Harbour) chatting to a part-time Santa in a British pub drowning his sorrows. But there are presents to deliver and when he gets to one huge mansion all is not well. The Lightstone mansion in Connecticut has been taken over by armed thieves who are intent on taking the $3million in the vault. Favoured son Jason Lightstone (Alex Hassell) and his estranged wife Linda (Alexis Louder) plus their 8-year-old daughter Trudy (Leah Brady) are caught in the crossfire.
The baddies led by a guy named Scrooge who has no qualms in killing all the security staff and threatening the family. But they hadn’t counted on Santa arriving - and having a back story of being an 11th-century hammer-wielding warrior!? Cue lots of violence as Santa goes about taking down the wronguns who are all very much on the naughty list. He’s helped a bit by Trudy getting her Home Alone vibe on and rigging up some lethally fun booby traps.
Director Tommy ‘Dead Snow’ Wirkola delivers enough comedy to make this palatable but some of the plot if fumbled and could have been tighter. Harbour is pretty great — this role is miles from Jim Hopper - and there is enough carnage to please those looking for a violent night of fun!!
Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos) however aims to be a new holiday horror and is mostly comprised of either sweary small-talking record store employees Tori (Riley Dandy) and Robbie (Sam Delich) but then it switches to full robo Santa rampage. The ’state of the art’ robot Father Christmas is supposed to be recalled - there are some fun background adverts that evoke Robocop and radio announcements which give the plot a lick of credibility.
Begos made the really cool ‘veterans v drug mutants’ flick VFW and there are some great moments here when the robotic Terminator-like baddie gets wrecked but keeps coming back. Overall the gore is moderate and the fairy-light-like visuals give the film a kind of ‘70s exploitation vibe. The characters are a bit marmite, I personally found our ‘heroes’ a bit annoying but the sheer ballsy premise carries the film along just enough to make it worth a look for horror fans.
Dandy brings her best ‘final girl’ energy and is worth keeping an eye on to see what she does next. My main beef with this is that it takes a long time to get going - but when the police get involved it all kicks off in strong violent style!
Apparently, Joe Begos is planning a sci-fi horror next which could certainly be cool too. Christmas Bloody Christmas isn’t a stone-cold classic or even as fun a Violent Night but if you’re in the mood for some festive slaughter, you could do worse than check this out…
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