David Harbour’s Violent Night Pays Tribute To The Best Christmas Movie

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

john leguizamo

Stranger Things and Hellboy star David Harbour’s latest film, Violent Night, premieres this weekend just in time for the Christmas season to start up in full swing. Harbour plays a vengeful Santa going against a team of terrorists, and if that sounds like a classic Christmas movie, then congratulations, because it pays tribute to one of the best Christmas movies of all time. According to an interview with Comic Book, Violent Night‘s producers leaned into comparisons to that other film about home invasions for the Holidays: Home Alone.

The scene that directly pays homage to Home Alone is not even centered on David Harbour, rather his young Violent Night co-star Leah Brady, takes the spotlight. The young actress depicts Trudy, a girl that is not aware of the very real terrorists invading her home, she just thinks it’s one big game. Producer Kelly McCormick says “you want it to feel almost like an R-rated kids movie in that section,.”

David Harbour’s Santa engages in plenty of violence over the course of Violent Night, though even he admits that Brady’s Home Alone scene is a complete crowd-pleaser. “Her trying to create that movie in a crazy violent way is quite surprising and hilarious” said the actor about his young co-star. While Kevin McAllistar went after Joe Pesci and and Daniel Stern’s Wet Bandits with humorous, non-lethal traps, movie-goers should know that there will be blood in Violent Night.

joe pesci
Joe Pesci from Home Alone 2.

Director Tommy Wirkola expanded upon David Harbour’s feelings about the crowd-pleasing sequence in Violent Night, saying one of the first things he did was to make that scene bigger. The director had “always wondered what would happen if Home Alone really took place. Those traps would be lethal.”

Going further, Wirkola says that the key part of the scene is Trudy does not realize she is doing anything wrong. Though in a tongue-in-cheek statement, the director says “we cast stunt people for those roles so we can really hurt them and really do some crazy stuff with them.” David Harbour, on the other end of Violent Night’s bloody rampage, thinks Trudy being so sweet and innocent is what really makes the mayhem and murder stand out.

The classic John Hughes movie, Home Alone, came out in 1990 and was an immediate box office smash, earning almost $500 million, which is incredible for a film at that time. Since then, the movie had one direct sequel in theaters, another one many years later with none of the main cast, and then direct-to-video spinoffs followed by a poorly received reboot. David Harbour’s Violent Night performance would be fortunate to be mentioned in the same breath as that other Christmas movie about invaders and one lone man taking them out.

David Harbour goes from vengeful Santa in Violent Night to filming Neil Blomkamp’s latest film, Gran Turismo, based off of the long-running PlayStation video game franchise. After that, Harbour gets back into the role of Sherriff Hopper for the firth and final season of Stranger Things. While it’s quite possible that Violent Night also plays with tropes established by some other Christmas film, probably from the 80s and featuring another television star, that will be for the audience to decide themselves after the movie debuts this weekend.