Krampus Movie Review

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By Shannon Fox, @shannonfox

 

He knows when you’ve been sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows when you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake!

 

Ah, Christmas.  That magical time of year when parents can use the existence of Santa Claus and his big bag of toys to ensure good behavior and obedience from their kids.  While we here in the States only really go so far as to use a stocking full of coal as a threatening device, the Germans and Austrians have been on a whole other level for centuries now with Krampus, an evil demon who tortures and kills any children who happen to land on Santa’s naughty list.

 

This year, it’s Krampus who’s coming to town… or at least to a movie theater near you.

 

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Max (Emjay Anthony) is a young boy just barely hanging on to the Christmas spirit and his belief in Santa.  When his family ruins the holiday he used to love, Max’s anger and disillusionment summon the arrival of Krampus, who is intent on dragging each one of them to the underworld with him.  Max and his family must work together to defend themselves from Krampus and his minions to survive the holidays and relearn the meaning of the Christmas.  The movie also stars Adam Scott and Toni Collette as Max’s parents, and David Koechner as Max’s Uncle Howard.

 

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Krampus.  Would it be a standard horror film with jump scares and gore?  Would it be a campy monster movie?  Perhaps it was something else altogether?  Nevertheless, it far exceeded any expectation I had for it and then some.

 

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Krampus is more of a dark comedy/adventure film more than anything else, in the vein of Gremlins.  Yes, you heard right: I just compared Krampus to Gremlins.  And I think it’s a fair comparison- this movie is pure, ridiculous fun and a total callback to the movies we all loved as kids, like Fright Night, Monster Squad, and even family films like Jumanji and Home Alone.  Sure, parts of Krampus are a bit scary, but nowhere near the level of an actual horror movie.  Which means that if you’ve got kids who can handle some creepy monsters, bring ’em along (it is, after all, only rated PG-13)!  And get ready to feel like a kid yourself- this movie is more fun than I’ve had in awhile at a movie theater.  I mean, there’s even a stop-motion-esque sequence to complete your “Christmas Movie Musts” list (the scene is gorgeous and haunting, by the way, and one of the highlights of the film) and just enough sentiment to light the yule log of your heart.  Even the opening title sequence is entertaining!

 

Original and fun, Krampus is exactly what the doctor ordered for those of us that need a little Halloween in our Christmas.  Trust me, you’ll never look at a jack-in-the-box or angel tree-topper the same.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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