My History With the Film:
When I first heard that a Krampus movie was coming out I was less than enthused. I had heard Kevin Smith discussing his version of a Krampus movie for at least a year before this Krampus film got made, and it just didn’t sound all that great. The plot from what I could tell was: an evil Santa comes down to punish the wicked.
Around August of this year, I finally got around to watching Trick ‘r Treat, a movie I’d owned for years and didn’t watch because I was afraid it had been overhyped and I would be disappointed with the film. I finally gave the movie a shot and it was fantastic. I loved the anthology aspect of the movie and found it be one of the best modern horror films I’d ever seen. I did a quick IMDB search on the director Michael Dougherty and saw that one of his only other directing credits was Krampus. The film immediately went from an “I doubt I’ll ever watch that” to a “Must see.”
I’ve been on the lookout for the film since August, but hadn’t run across it at a great price until I found it at Walmart in a bin of leftover Black Friday DVDs. I picked up Krampus and watched it the following day and enjoyed it quite a bit, although not nearly as much as Trick ‘r Treat.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A boy loses his holiday spirit and ends up releasing a demon upon his family and town.
What I Liked About It:
-The design of Krampus, the elves, and his assistants were fantastic. Each of them was unique and creepy in their own way.
-I was initially worried about Adam Scott and David Koechner being cast because I didn’t think this film should be a horror-comedy. It isn’t, although it doesn’t take itself serious at all, and that allows for some over-the-top moments that do come off comical. I’m just glad the actors didn’t play it that way.
-There is a scene done entirely in stop-motion that is so well done I wanted it to last longer. It made for a brilliant break in the story and gave the movie a special look.
-I thought the final scene was brilliant and an excellent way to end the movie.
-The film definitely pays homage to Christmas Vacation and that worked in making the film feel even more like a Christmas movie.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The film is definitely a horror movie, but it really lacks the tension and gore a quality horror movie needs. I would have love to have seen this film with an R rating. I think it would have gone down as one of the greatest.
-Some of the CGI could have used a little more polish.
-I didn’t buy Max’s remorse towards the end, especially his concern for his cousin.
-Krampus is a real part of German/Austrian folklore. He comes to punish children that are bad.
-The “noodle incident” that was mentioned in the film by Max’s mom is most likely a tribute to Calvin and Hobbs who constantly refer to an undefined “noodle incident.”
-The snow was made from the same material that is used to make diapers.
-You can see Sam from Trick ‘r Treat’s lollipop in Max’s page of leftover Halloween candy.
-Almost the entire movie was shot on a soundstage.
Krampus was an entertaining film that offers horror fans a new Christmas film to add to their collection. I thought the atmosphere, set, and character design were good, but ultimately the movie fails at channeling the same energy that made Trick ‘r Treat so great. It’s very worthy of a Christmas watch, but I do not see this film making it into my yearly holiday rotation.
I’d say Krampus is a two and a half out of five and a rental.