Weekly Review: Krampus (2015)

When a dysfunctional family comes together to celebrate the Christmas holiday, tensions rise and tempers flare, creating the perfect environment for Krampus to take the naughty ones to hell.

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I was incredibly excited. What could be better than an evil version of Santa Claus? If done right of course. I’ve seen other attempts at horror themed Christmas movies, but none of them really hit the mark with me. I was excited to give this one a shot when I could.

Flash forward half a year and a bunch of avoided spoilers later, and I have finally seen Krampus. Overall, I really enjoyed it!

One of the first things you may notice about Krampus is the cast. Some of the main characters are played by Toni Collette, Adam Scott, David Koechner, and Conchata Ferrell. As soon as you see this detail, you’re expecting the film to be a comedy, and probably a ridiculous one at that. While there are some comedic moments, and some of them really are ridiculous, comedy is only one aspect of Krampus.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.06.41 PM

I was really surprised how well this movie handles the horror aspect. One of the first instances where we see the Krampus character had me jumping out of my seat. It was just really well done, and I felt it set the tone for the majority of the movie. Toward the end, the scares take more of a turn toward the ridiculous, and I would describe the transition as more of a turn toward fantasy. One of the characters even calls the situation fantasy BS or some variation of that on a few occasions.

When it comes to scares, the film manages to be decently brutal without actually showing anything. I was surprised to find that Krampus was rated PG-13. I can understand why they went for this rating, but they definitely could have done a lot more if they headed for an R-rating. This is a demented shadow of Santa Claus after all.

Krampus is based off of actual Germanic folklore, and they include that in the film which I thought was pretty neat. One of the characters is the grandmother of the family, played by Krista Stadler. This character gives a good background story for the Krampus character, complete with an interesting switch to animation that stands out from the rest of the movie.

Even with all of these elements blending together, I was most intrigued by the fact that Krampus manages to still feel like a Christmas movie. By that, I mean that it still feels like the main character learns something about the overall Christmas spirit, family, and sacrifice. Of course, the movie does it with a more tongue-in-cheek approach, but I thought it was fascinating.

That’s really the selling point that I’ve been telling people about Krampus ever since I watched it. It’s interesting. It’s a fun experience. It had me freaking out. It had me laughing. It was a good time. It also makes some points about capitalism, politics, family values, and all that, but this is a review, not an analysis.

The easiest way to describe Krampus would be that it’s horror, comedy, and fantasy while still managing to feel like a Christmas movie. If that intrigues you, then you may want to give this movie a shot. I’m glad I did, and I’ll most likely be adding it to my collection.

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