When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day (and Christmas). Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of Violent Night from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Universal - 2022
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 112 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish DTS-HD HR 7.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Beverly D’Angelo
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Music by: Dominic Lewis
Written by: Pat Casey, John Miller
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 24, 2023

"You Better Watch Out"


When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day (and Christmas).

My Take:

Violent Night begins with a group of well-organized mercs that take over a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve. After taking everyone inside hostage, they reveal their plans to break into, and steal, the contents of the vault located in the bowels of the residence. What they don’t see coming is that Santa Claus has dropped in to deliver presents to the only on in the house that is on the nice list. Unfortunately for them, Santa is about to show why this Nick is no saint.

If you look at Violent Night and snap shot what you think it’s about, you’d probably be right. If that led you to skip it feeling as though it had nothing to offer, you’d be wrong. This isn’t well-rounded storytelling or old fashioned Christmas cheer wrapped up in a cinematic bow. It’s dyed in the wool action, with a comedic undertone and, a well-intentioned holiday message, that all manages to come together in a flurry (did you catch that winter reference?) that wastes little time in getting down to business.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Violent Night isn’t intended for all audiences but, for those of us that don’t mind taking the bitter with the sweet, there’s fun to be had. There’s even a heartwarming message buried within that comes off without feeling like a toss in. The take on Santa is just cool and fun to watch in the hands of David Harbour. John Leguizamo isn’t quite his equal as the villain but, he is certainly up to the task. The action is sometimes overplayed but, I was okay with that. My wife watched it with me and thought that it needed tighter editing, especially during the moments of action.

Violent Night probably isn’t destined for holiday classic status but, I can almost guarantee that there will be many that will enjoy revisiting it around the holidays. It has found a home in my collection but, I am pretty sure that I will be watching it alone.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong bloody violence, language throughout and some sexual references.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.

Audio: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Dynamics:
    • Low frequency effects:
    • Surround Sound presentation:
    • Clarity/Detail:
    • Dialog Reproduction:
    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Resolution/Clarity:
    • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
    • Color Reproduction:
    • Fleshtones:
    • Compression:

Violent Night comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

The high-definition video quality was on par with other new release films of its type, and looked great. Colors were natural looking with a pleasing and deeply saturated quality that capably handled the palette required by the settings and clothing featured in the film. Flesh tones varied a bit with some appearing well delineated, and lifelike while others had a slightly pale appearance. Contrast was spot on which augmented the reproduction of the various lighting schemes featured in the film. Images were detailed and crisp, with definable lines and appreciable dimension. Blacks were strong with discernable gradational quality while detail in dark areas and low-lit sequences was estimable which enhanced depth. The video was rendered well, and didn’t show any signs of compression related anomalies or video artifacts.

This film relies heavily on its soundtrack to help convey the story’s elements, and the DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix handles it with aplomb. This is a clear encoding that renders excellent reproduction of the soundtrack’s recording which augments the presence of low level off camera cues/sounds as well as punctuating those that are meant to be in your face. The action is coupled with solid low frequency effects that resonate with palpable presence. Dialog is appropriately prioritized and reproduced with discernible tonal character. The surrounds are appropriately engaged and heighten the experience. I found this to be an entertaining audio presentation that accents the film.

Bonus Features:

  • • Deleted and Extended Scenes
    o Family Arrives at the Mansion
    o Jason and Linda in Bedroom
    o Krampus Sees Trudy's Radio
    o Santa on the Roof
    o Walk to the Manger
    o Family Resolution
    o Bad Dad
    o Cast Call Back
    o Extended Scenes
    • Quarrelin' Kringle - Cast and crew relay why David Harbour is the perfect brawler for this combative rendition of Santa.
    • Santa's Helpers: The Making Of VIOLENT NIGHT - Tommy Wirkola and David Leitch have reunited for another madcap, violent fairytale with heart in VIOLENT NIGHT. This making-of will celebrate their spirited reunion as well as the other little helpers.
    • Deck the Halls with Brawls - Go behind the action as we go blow for blow with the new villains of Christmas.
    • Feature Commentary with Director Tommy Wirkola, Producer Guy Danella, Writer Pat Casey and Writer Josh Miller
  • DVD
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Violent night isn’t a conceptual original action comedy but, there is a freshness to it that makes it easily digestible for genre fans that hanker for something different during the holiday season. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent technical merits combined with a fan friendly supplemental package. Violent Night is just plain fun to watch. It’s currently streaming on Peacock for those that may be curious but, I give it a solid purchase recommendation on Blu-ray.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-NZ7 4K Ultra High-Definition Laser Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Seymour A/V Center Stage XD 2.35.1 100” Wide Retractable Screen
Marantz AV7706 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems