In the action-comedy Violent Night (out Dec. 2), David Harbour's Santa Claus — yes, the actual mythological figure come to life — must save a young girl named Trudy (Leah Brady) by taking down a gang of goons set on robbing her rich family's remote mansion. Written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller, the film pays deliberate homage to Die Hard and its many sequels and knock-offs; the pair even initially pitched the idea as "Die Hard Santa."
But director Tommy Wirkola's movie also tips a blood-drenched hat in the direction of Home Alone and, in particular, the brutal booby traps which Macaulay Culkin's Kevin McAllister sets for Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern's thieves, which the pair somehow survive. The big difference in Violent Night? Without spoiling too much, it's fair to say that the consequences of the traps laid by Trudy are considerably more realistic, and at times horrifying, than those endured by Pesci and Stern's characters.
Everett Collection; Allen Fraser/Universal Pictures Macaulay Culkin in 'Home Alone' and David Harbour in 'Violent Night'
"We loved that first Home Alone," says Casey, who, with Miller, previously wrote 2020's Sonic the Hedgehog and its 2022 sequel. "I still watch it every couple of Christmases, because it's great. But we've long talked about the fact that all of his booby traps are so unbelievably brutal. We thought it would be funny to do a Home Alone sequence but where you really get to see the inherent violence, and it's not quite as Looney Tunes."
"That was also very much from the pitch," says Miller of Trudy's booby traps. "We always knew we wanted [the film] to revolve around the idea that Santa would have just left these rich assholes to die until he sees the little girl, and that's his one big weakness in life. You know, all Die Hard knock-offs need their Al, their Reginald VelJohnson, the person who our hero's communicating with. We knew we would have this little kid, but we didn't want to get trapped [with] a precious little kid just being overly cute. I think all adults [who] grew up on Home Alone think back on it and you're like, the Wet Bandits would have died, many times over."
"The crazy thing is that our sequence is only a hair more violent," Miller continues. "It's just that the consequences are realistic."
The cast of Violent Night also includes John Leguizamo and Beverly D'Angelo. Watch the trailer for Violent Night below.
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