Early Christmas turkey

Mick Ferris

Violent Night (15, 112 minutes)

I’ve never liked Christmas movies. Even before Type 2 diabetes they were far too sugary for my tastes. Even Elf winds me up apart from the bit where he gets hit by a New York taxi.

So my expectations were not high, even before I realised that David Harbour was playing actual Father Christmas, not a disgruntled seasonal worker. I can’t imagine how this was pitched to the Stranger Things/Black Widow star.

The compound of mega rich matriach Gertrude Lightstone (Beverly D’Angelo) is raided by a team of mercenaries, led by John Leguizamo, as her greedy family gather on Christmas Eve. The aim is to empty the large vault beneath the house which holds $300million of government funds meant for distribution to third world countries, but held back by the wealthy grandmother.

The gang’s preparations have been meticulous, but they have not bargained for Harbour as a cynical Santa, drinking his way from house to house, throwing up and treading in reindeer poo.

But before he became Santa Claus in the 11th century, he had been a fierce warrior and his credo of just delivering presents without getting involved in people’s lives is put aside as he calls up his old skills and sets about saving the little girl who still believes in him from the raider on his naughty list.

The violence is played strictly for laughs, including a sequence with the little girl in the loft that is straight out of Home Alone, although the funniest crack in the entire film is the name of the Lightstone grandson (which I won’t spoil)

Harbour does the level best he can with what he has to work with, but something that could have been a festive Nobody/Bad Santa mix turns out to be just another Miracle on Whatevernumber Street.

With guns and a hammer.

RATING: 4/10

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk