Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Review of Krampus (2015)

Written by Todd Casey & Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields
Directed by Michael Dougherty

Max (to Omi): "Are we going to be okay? What?"
Aunt Dorothy: "She said we're fucked!"

Anything that combines both the horror and Christmas genres can never be a bad thing and while there are possibly bigger Christmas horror films out there (Black Christmas, anyone?), this modest hit from two years is a worthy contender.

Centering around the Engel family, young lad Max (Emjay Anthony) just wants a normal Christmas like his family used to enjoy but when extended family members show up and things quickly descend into chaos, he ends up losing his faith in the Holiday and as a result, a certain goated fellow and his friends begin to terrorise the family but not before Max's German grandmother Omi (Krista Stadler) recalls her own encounter as a child with Krampus.

The animated flashback gives us the basic details - Krampus punishes those who've been naughty or lost their faith in Christmas and as the movie progresses, each of Max's family members are assaulted by an array of baddies from Krampus. The highlight of this though are the Gingerbread men who are ridiculously cute but utterly sinister, at least until one of them is eaten by the family dog that is.

Of course, Max is the one who brought about Krampus, so after a noble but predicted self sacrifice from his grandmother, it was obviously going to be him that would be the one to end Krampus's reign of terror. I won't spoil what exactly happens but I will say that the final scene of the movie ends the movie on a particular memorable note though.

The family on the other hand are led well enough by Adam Scott and Toni Collette as Max's sympathetic enough parents, Tom and Sarah but the highlights probably are Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell) and Howard (David Koechner), who starts the movie as a jerk but steps a little when things begin to get ugly.

As for Krampus, he looks menacing enough and he's actually used quite sparingly in parts, making his actual appearances the more effective when he's seen on screen. It does prove though that less is more as the gory is kept to a minimum and the use of a blizzard adds to the creepy atmosphere that the movie successfully captures.

- The movie was released to coincide with the Krampusnacht, the Austrian festival that celebrates Krampus punishing bad children.
- Three others actresses nearly played Omi before Krista Stadler but all bowed out for different reasons. Pictures of cast and crew members were used for the end credits.
- There's a reference to the director's previous work at the start of this movie. The movie is also dedicated to his mother who passed away during the film's production.
- Standout music: Plenty of Christmas music but Krampus Karol of the Bells by Brea Olinda High School Singers  is the clear highlight though.

Krampus is a delightfully macabre movie to watch. If you fancy a Christmas horror flick this year, this is definitely one to give a watch too. There's a creepy monster, enough rootable characters to care about and a rather tantalising ending to the whole thing. I'm not going to declare it the best Christmas horror movie ever seen but it's definitely worth viewing over the holiday period.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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