Review: Krampus

krampusDistributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Michael Dougherty
Writers: Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty
Stars: Emjay Anthony, Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman
Genre: Horror
Rating: PG-13
While I am personally not a major fan of the horror genre, the studio had the potential to actually make this film good. It is based on mythology, it takes place around the Christmas season, so how could one make a disappointing film?

Storyline

Twas the night before Christmas, and a young boy named Max whose only wish for Santa Claus was for his dysfunctional family to love each other again and for things to be the way they were before. After being disappointed again and officially losing the hope and belief in Santa, the dark and ancient spirit known as Krampus pays his family and neighborhood a little visit. Desperate to survive the winter storm and the henchmen of Krampus, Max and his family do everything in their power to fight off and protect one another by any means necessary.

Content Guide

Violence/Scary Images: Throughout the film, there are countless jump scare moments of Krampus’ minions tormenting and killing the family. Joyful images and materials become twisted and evil, from gingerbread men to angel statues.
Language/Crude Humor: Only one A and F word throughout. The children display crude behavior as they make fun of and bully each other while parents gossip about other relatives.
Sexual Content: None.
Drug/Alcohol References: Max’s father has a drink in his study as he tries to avoid the visiting relatives. One of Max’s grandmothers mixes hot chocolate with alcohol and secretly gives some to her grandson.
Spiritual Content: Based on German mythology, Krampus is a mythological creature from the underworld that terrorizes and punishes misbehaving children, in contrast to Santa Claus. He and his minions not only torture the family, but also kill each of them off one by one. It comes to the point where the earth cracks open to reveal the underworld, in this case Hell, where he drops the children down. Even for a PG-13, this is not a film I would recommend for Christians teens to see.
Negative Content: Bullying, insulting, terrorizing, and killing throughout. Again, this is not one I would recommend to any Christian teen let alone Christians in general.
Positive Content: Despite the family being killed off individually, the family also bands together, putting differences aside to fight off Krampus’ minions.

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Presentation

To start off, the dialogue was just a mess between most members of the family. It is understandable that a horror film would have one dimensional characters, but the dialogue was very cheesy let alone predictable. I would rather sit through the jump scares again than have to rewatch the first twenty minutes of dialogue, and that’s saying a lot.
If there is one character who actually stood out in his second rate horror film, it was the German grandmother (not the one who mixes alcohol with hot chocolate). As seen in the trailer, this grandmother knows a thing or two about Krampus, making her worth hearing and giving an amount of time into as a character.
Her emotions compared to other characters did not feel forced. She speaks when given the opportunity, and plays her part well. Due to her past in Germany, she even speaks the language fluently, which I felt was a good touch connecting back to the Germanic origins of Krampus himself.
The portrayal and backstory of Krampus himself was accurate in regards to the mythology behind the devilish creature. Long goat horns, freakishly long dark nails, pitch black fur, and even the origins going back to German folktales. The only part that was different from what I expected was the revealing of his face. I was hoping that it would be more devilish and dark than what was originally portrayed. I do not believe that minions are part of the mythology in regards to the gingerbread men and angel statues. That was more of a hollywood addition for entertainment.
While the title of the film and trailers focus around Krampus, the movie is more about the minions who have the screentime as the villains. Because of this, the film felt as if it was more of a jump scare thriller than an actual horror film. Again, the studio had a good plot in front of them, its execution, however, fails to make it really entertaining. Sure, the jump scares and moments of suspense and terror were enjoyable (that is, if you love a good scare), but it was not enough to carry on as a horror flick.

Conclusion

If for whatever reason you are seeking a good scare this holiday season, you can really do better than have to sit through Krampus. If you are looking for an accurate depiction of Krampus in hollywood, you will find it in this film…for about thirty minutes or so. It was really a shame to see a potential horror plot wasted in a PG-13 predictable flick.

Positives

Negatives

The Bottom Line

 

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Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

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