Talk about kicking off Christmas over here in style! We’re right on track on December 10th. I started the same time last year. It gives us 2 weeks to get all the Christmas out of our system with tons of fun stuff on the way. Some book reviews won’t be quite as festive or like Star Wars review (I already have tickets) but every day will have some festive fun. I promise you that! 🙂
Now, why are we doing this in style? We’re starting off with a new movie release! I managed to get my husband to go downtown with me (because it was only showing in English there) to see Krampus. I had a glimpse at the Rotten Tomatoes ratings and they seemed alright so without knowing anything about the movie, not even trailers, we bought out tickets and went to see it. The most painful part was actually the previews because I wanted to walk out of the theatre during the ENTIRE Zoolander 2 trailer….but I lived through it, luckily.
Let’s check it out! 🙂
Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen, Krista Stadler
A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.-IMDB
Where to even start for Krampus? I love legends and lores and all that stuff. Those sorts of movies are awesome (unless its Asylum, then I might get a little worried). Let’s focus on the positive here. Krampus is not your normal holiday movie. For one, its not happy happy joy joy. Its a horror comedy. Any of you like those? I sure do, when its executed properly! For starters, I don’t know anything about the Krampus legend so talk about going into a movie blind. However, Krampus is different. I needed to give it some thought before writing this up.
Its hard to determine where I stand with Krampus. I guess I should get the negative out first. My main issue is with the beginning being slow. For a short film like this, the build up seemed forever as the family was arriving. It gave a watered down version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Except, once the blizzard hits and they get snowed it. Now, we are talking about some fun times. Plus, the danger hits a lot faster than I would’ve expected. I’m convinced that because of that slow, slightly comical first part, it helps when the story just flips around and we enter the dark and gloomy blizzard. The first time we see the dark form of Krampus on the rooftop. That was some effective atmosphere building. He was absolutely creepy. The sound design and effects and just what goes on from jumping roof to roof sent shivers down my spine. Equally, it has the feels of Gremlins and that Krampus symbol is like visiting a dark version of Polar Express. None of that is a bad point though. However, I think that the marketing campaign did a bad job where if you don’t know the legend (which I don’t), I didn’t see the trailer and I called the ending in the last third. You’ll know what I mean if you saw the poster.
With the bad out of the way, Krampus does excel because its a dark movie. I’m not totally for the beginning bit with the family and their humor. But when the creepy dark stuff starts, it gets a lot of more dark humor that works. My favorite is a line from the character Aunt Dorothy, played by Conchata Ferrell about life. I’m not sure if anyone else laughed because my husband and I laughed pretty hard over that. For a comedy, we didn’t laugh all that much. But then, the creature designs here are really smart. I double checked the trailer to make sure there isn’t any spoiler territory but that Jack in a Box thing was creepy as hell. Not to mention, Krampus’s other helpers like elves and snowmans and the likes. I haven’t even mentioned Krampus other than his creepy shadow. You know, I always have an issue with the creature reveal. But then, is any of these considered creatures? Regardless, there are some pretty creepy features about Krampus. I do like the fact of how they build up revealing his physical features. However, the reveal of Krampus’s purpose is that he is the opposite of Santa, not only in his darkness but the fact that he takes instead of gives to remind people to believe and have hope. At least that’s what I got, I could be wrong.
Other than a brief mention of Conchata Ferrell’s Aunt Dorothy who offered a lot of dark humor here, the cast deserves some mention. They are made out to be the highlight of the lack of Christmas spirit candidates but it all gets pushed over when Max loses his believe and hope in Santa and ends up summoning Krampus. So look, the characters here aren’t exactly likeable and they aren’t meant to be because they are on the “naughty list”. If it wasn’t for that, Krampus wouldn’t be here, right? The acting is not a problem here. The cast is completely competent, including the kids. What I do question at times was the normal illogical horror movie decision-making. Just one example, I’m not a parent but would you let your teenage daughter go down the block in a blizzard to see if her boyfriend is okay? I know that my mom wouldn’t but then some would say that she’s overprotective. There are some things that happen that just doesn’t make sense in why the characters would do that. However, Krampus never does give you a moment to linger on those thoughts before dishing out some other abomination. I’m going to be honest here and say that, I don’t think I cared much for the characters other than Aunt Dorothy and Max and Grandma.
Overall, I’m lukewarm on Krampus. I think that as a horror, it builds atmosphere very good. Was I scared? Not really. But it did have moments when looking at the creature reveals from Krampus to his various helpers that sent chills down my spine. There was some funny moments in their fights and retaliation moments. The characters never had a chance for us to bond with or maybe they just didn’t get enough time for their roles to mean much more. Some good and some bad here but overall, I think its worth checking out if you can appreciate a non-traditional holiday movie. Krampus is a good legend to base on and Krampus itself has a good creature design. The beginning could’ve been paced better but for 75% of the movie, it is worth it. I enjoyed myself a good bit.
Have you seen Krampus? What did you think?