Krampus review

Director:
Michael Dougherty
Cast:
Adam Scott
Toni Collette
David Koechner
Emjay Anthony
Conchata Ferrell
Rated: PG-13

“Krampus” is a horror and dark comedy that centers around a dysfunctional family who have gathered just a few days before Christmas. The youngest in the family, Max (Anthony), is having a tough time with the whole situation, though, because the holiday just doesn’t feel as enjoyable anymore.

In a fit of anger he tears up his letter to Santa and tosses it out the window. It turns out to be a bad decision, though, because it summons the evil spirit Krampus who punishes those who don’t honor Christmas.

Directed by Michael Dougherty who previously helmed the fantastic “Trick ‘r Treat” in 2007, “Krampus” starts off well enough by setting up a good launching point into all the chaos. While the characters come off as one-dimensional from the get go, the first half is still able to be strong thanks to a creepy atmosphere created by a great looking blizzard and a good introduction to the spirit.

The second half is where the movie starts to fall apart a bit. The picture felt repetitive since it invokes a home invasion type story and also relies too much on Krampus’ minions instead of just using the main spirit to do most of the creeping. While the scenes with these minions were fun at times, the question remained, why can’t we see Krampus doing most of the carnage?

The tone of “Krampus” was also a bit off. The movie tries to walk the tightrope of being a horror comedy and sometimes succeeds in doing so, with good humorous lines in certain places. On the other hand, though, there are plenty of other jokes that miss, some of the humor has already been done to death and it just doesn’t gel as well as say “Zombieland” did as a horror comedy a couple years ago.

As previously stated, the characters were a bit one dimensional in my view, coming off as very obvious archetypes. It’s understandable that they wanted to show a true diverse and dysfunctional family, but the way they were written was just a bit too constrictive.

With all that said, though, the film is at least entertaining. Some of the comedy does in fact work, the acting, despite the characters being cliché, is fine and when Krampus does appear on screen it’s genuinely creepy.

Additionally, the filmmakers went the extra mile and made much of the more fantastical elements of the movie with practical effects giving it an old school vibe. Gore fans might be somewhat disappointed, though, since this PG-13 flick is lacking in terms of blood.

While it’s a flawed film, “Krampus” can still be enjoyed by most horror fans for at least being a fun thrill ride set in the holiday season. Low 3 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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