Krampus review


Disclaimer: What follows are specific plot details of “The Krampus” The review contains spoilers regarding the movie. Do not read this review if you have not watched the movie yet, and wish to in the future.

Proceeding the arrival of Christmas day, The Krampus hits theaters as a holiday horror movie focusing around the darker side of Christmas. Based on the ancient European folklore, The Krampus explains the story of a horned, anthropomorphic figure who punishes children that have misbehaved during the holiday season. The Krampus is referred to as the “shadow of St. Nicholas,” and serves as the terrifying antagonist in the film.

Following the historically frightening legend of the Krampus, the monster himself  in the film is mostly seen draped in a blackened and torn version of Santa’s coat. As well, the beast is covered with chains and bells which add to the monsters terrifying appearance. However, for the majority of the film, the monsters face remains covered in shadows, only to be revealed at the end to be stuck in a facial position which takes away from the creepiness of beast.

movie poster
Lengendary Pictures

The Krampus features Adam Scott, who previously starred in the popular television show Parks and Recreation, as Tom, a likable father of a dysfunctional family. When his sister-in-law, played by Allison Toleman, brings her husband, recognizable actor David Koechner, and their innately annoying children over to celebrate Christmas, more dysfunction ensues. As Tom’s wife, Sarah, played by Toni Collette, struggles to interact with her family, their son Max, played by child actor Emjay Anthony, loses his faith in the spirit of Christmas. Max’s loss of faith brings upon the wrath of Krampus, and all of his diabolical helpers. The majority of the helpers and the Krampus himself consisted of minimal CGI, which was a intelligent decision by the director. The one type of helper which was CGI appeared out of place and took away from the realistic feel of the monsters.

The Krampus is classified as a horror-comedy and the characters frequently produce one liners that fail to land with the audience and would feel extremely out of place if the film is viewed as a true horror movie. In addition, the Krampus’ helpers portrayed as possessed holiday icons seem cartoonish and silly. Apart from a few well executed jump scares, they fail to strike fear into the hearts of the viewers.

What is even further frustrating about The Krampus is the title creature himself. The legendary monster of the film is rarely seen, and when it is present on screen, it appears in disappointing scenes. Whether jumping from roof to roof, or having a stare down with an elderly grandma, the ticket selling creature does not do much throughout the film. Which proved to be extremely frustrating about this film, as for viewers who are anticipating to watch the Krampus cause chaos, are disappointed to be stuck which is underwhelming helps having all the fun.

The worst part of the film is the end. After the protagonists have been picked off by the Krampus’ helpers, it come to a face off between Max and the monster. Despite the lack of logic in the scene, it serves as the climax of the movie and fades to black, only to have Max wake back up in bed on Christmas morning. At this point, most of the viewing audience in the theater were up at arms at the stupidity of the movie and the fact that they had just wasted two hours of their lives.

However, the scene of Christmas day continues on and reveals a fake ending, as the family had in fact been captured by the Krampus and has joined his extensive collection of families. This is followed by a completely pointless and redundant jump scare, as the movie tries to leave the audience in a state of fear. That should have been the goal of the entire movie, not just the last second of the film. While this ending proved to be much more easily acceptable than the stereotypical it-was-all-a-dream ending, both endings serve as a frustrating end to a frustratingly pointless film.

Parkway West Pathfinder gives The Krampus 3.0/10.