Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Toni Collette, Adam Scott and David Koechner
A “holiday” film about a family that aren’t too fond of each other, having to endure one another for the Christmas holidays, but their lack of Christmas enthusiasm soon find them pitted against a different kind of Christmas spirit (See what I did there?).
The movie skews the line between horror and comedy, with a little of both depending on how scared you generally are of such films. As a horror buff myself, I genuinely enjoyed every bit of this movie. I was very willing to overlook some of the acting hiccups from both adult and child actors, only because the jump scares are sound and the themes are anything, but loyal to the Christmas genre. Definitely a film worth experiencing for yourself.
Right off the bat I’ll admit that there’s never been a Christmas film I liked, never, from the overhyped Nightmare Before Christmas to the dismal Jingle All the Way. The theme just isn’t for me and there’s only so much cliché I can take.
I will note that I did not see ANY Krampus trailers and I’m quite thankful I didn’t, flying into this movie blind was the best decision I made; I knew nothing going in and I loved it going out.
The movie is led by (but is not about) Adam Scott, who is very difficult to take seriously as a loving and protective father when one normally sees him in the most timid of roles, and it’s obvious he’s out of his comfort zone. With some notable performances from Collette and Koechner.
The story revolves around a family torn apart by differences and lack of commonalities. In this fleeting attempt for holiday cheer and escalating family conflict; the one child that still believes in Santa denounces his existence, tearing up his letter to him. This act brings about a darkness to the quiet suburb and invites a dark entity to it.
When the darkness spreads and things get chaotic, the silent German grandmother breaks her silence and finally tells them of a similar experience she had. During hardships of her childhood, she too denounced Santa, and in her hubris, summoned instead a being so evil, it had taken her parents from her and left her only with a dark bauble as a reminder of her loss.
Enter Krampus, the antithesis of Santa, who comes to houses not to give, but to take. To take what people take for granted, from possessions and gifts to family and friends. Krampus and his army of Christmas-themed abominations terrorize the family in a series of sequences very similar to the film Poltregeist, and the family must band together to take on the horrors they brought upon themselves to defeat him.
One by one, the family is picked off, killed, or kidnapped by the minions ranging from demonic Jack in the Boxes to sadistic Gingerbread berserkers. It is only near the end that you finally see, in all his glory, Krampus. After he takes everything and only the child that tore the letter to Santa remains. He sets out to confront Krampus.
When he does, he gives him a heartfelt Christmas apology; how he should not have given up on family and Christmas, how he was sorry for the duties Krampus was given and how he would love nothing more than things to go back to normal. Krampus and the minions all pause by the genuine innocence of the child, before bursting out into laughter and casting him into the bowels of hell along with the rest of his family. With the film ending on quite the fun note afterwards.