David Koechner, Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and Michael Dougherty star in Krampus, directed by Michael Dougherty. The film also stars Allison Tolman. An unlucky boy accidentally summons a demon to his family house after having a bad Christmas. With Christmas now having its own horror film, will Krampus make the nice or naughty list?
In my opinion, Krampus is the most refreshing horror film I have seen in a while – of course it follows the usual horror movie traits, but the fact that it is a horror movie based on the holiday made it so much more interesting. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I love watching classics. The movie Krampus is on my list of holiday movies because it is so different and not to be forgotten. I think Krampus is an effective horror-comedy that will please fans of both genres, despite its shortcomings.
On November 25, the film was scheduled to be released, but it was pushed back to December 4 in order to coincide with Krampusnacht, an Austrian festival celebrated on December 5 that celebrates the Krampus coming to punish naughty children.
As for the storyline for the film, it is quite dark – the film begins by presenting a montage that represents how stressful Christmas has become, while the majority in the film are enjoying themselves. It is a whole film about people not having hope at Christmas, with Krampus being a myth about being happy at Christmas or else regretting it, which I really like because who shouldn’t be cheerful at Christmas? We’re in the midst of the most wonderful season of the year.
The story revolves around the Krampus myth, an inverted version of Santa Claus. In Christmas, Krampus is a monster who punishes and steals rather than rewards and gives. This film, much like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, opens on the same basic structure. There are some yokels attending a holiday gathering of a middle-class family where tensions are created and a few laughs are produced. Krampus has referred to other Christmas stories several times. The interlude begins with an allusion to A Christmas Carol, and an animated sequence reminiscent of the classic Rankin Bass holiday specials explains how it all goes down. A frustrated young boy inadvertently summons a demonic army and the demon’s minions with an action he doesn’t intend. When a supernatural blizzard engulfs their town, a group of vengeful creatures begin taking revenge on nice and naughty alike. The family is forced to work together to survive.
Well-crafted makeup effects are created by Weta Workshop. Creatures are nicely detailed. Krampus himself, as well as a giant monstrous jack in the box, help create effective scares with their onscreen realizations. There is some dark humor sprinkled between the chills, as the violence tends toward slapstick, at times. It is a gorgeous piece of design. There are some really effective outdoor sequences with abandoned frozen houses and empty streets that add to the sense of isolation and anxiety. I enjoyed Jules O’Loughlin’s attic scenes as well. His lensing is at its finest in those stretches. A creepy touch is added to seasonal favorites with Douglas Pipes’ score.
A couple of the toys and possessed gingerbread men are my only complaints with the movie. As a Jack-in-the-Box, it seemed as though it had not fully developed from John Carpenter’s THE THING. With a set painted face and a mouth of slimy, sharp teeth, it truly belonged in a nightmare.
I love this Christmas movie. There must be something unique about a flick to make it stand out from the rest. KRAMPUS has that unique quality.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
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