David Harbour is the perfect fit in a violent R-rated take Santa Claus lore in our modern world. Only he could have had as much fun filming this, and it shows in every single drunken, bloody frame.
Harbour is a tired, disgruntled Santa who drinks his way through Christmas night. When he unknowingly stumbles into dysfunctional family’s hostage situation, he finds himself torn between helping the family and leaving the violence behind to finish delivering his toys. It is the youngest member of the family, Trudy, who still clings to her belief that the fat man clad in red is still bringing some good to the world, that convinces Santa to save her family from being killed by the men trying to steal money from the family safe.
In reality, this film is Die Hard meets Home Alone meets Bad Santa. Trudy, having just seen Home Alone, helps Santa by leaving booby traps. John Lequizamo leads a group of stone faced mercenaries who just want the leave with as much money as possible. Beverly D’Angelo returns to the holiday genre as the matriarch of the family she has grown tired of. It’s a mix that shouldn’t work, but when the violence starts, it all comes together in comedic yet brutal fashion. After all, Santa with a sledgehammer is as entertaining as it sounds.
In the end, it surprisingly brings some sentimentality to the affair as the family tries to save Santa in the same way that he tried to save them. With violence.
This will easily become a holiday film I watch every year. Harbour is officially my favorite Santa.