Krampus was on the top of my holiday “to-see” list. Part of my goal this month is to revisit holiday-themed movies I haven’t seen in a long time, give second chances to those I loathe, and try some new ones. I didn’t have high expectations for a holiday horror film, but Krampus was pretty eerie and a ton of fun. Michael Doughtery knows how to make holiday themed movies.
“Like he had for thousands of years, Krampus came not to reward, but to punish. Not to give, but to take. “
The premise is pretty standard. A dysfunctional family who’s lost the spirit of Christmas is preparing to celebrate with hate and loathing. The youngest son of the host family makes a wish that has severe repercussions. And here’s the thing…I made it 30 seconds into the introductions and dinner and was already hoping for Krampus to show up and start his reaping. I, also, got my wish.
The mood is perfect. There is the feel of the typical frustration of a maladjusted family and the sense of what holiday gatherings can be for a lot of us……….a horror movie. Which is where the story quickly takes us. Max’s wish comes true and Krampus and his thugs show up to their little town in suburbia America and the real nightmare begins.
Like “The Mist” and “Godzilla” I have serious problems with bad parents and this is no different. When they meet something supernatural the search for the daughter is over. As the monsters begin to show themselves logic becomes less and less evident like how many bullets are actually in a revolver. These are pet peeves, but things I can accept. What I can appreciate is that Dad who doesn’t use guns isn’t a perfect shot and misses a lot. Also, Toni Collette is so good in absolutely everything she does, but the whole cast is great here.
The line between comedy and terror also runs pretty thin, and like Trick ‘R Treat works very well. Krampus is not fully a horror movie. It’s really what it began as eons ago….a pretty wicked fable. The ending I suppose is left for you to decide. Spoilers here, but I didn’t think Max and family were trapped in an infinite hell. I think he found the true meaning of Christmas and Krampus let him go. Grandma didn’t figure it out, so her parents and town remained dead. Not the case here. The rest of the family is there the next morning and they seem to remember the “nightmare” too. The globes may just be how Krampus “sees” when you are sleeping and knows when you’re awake. If Max and his family mess up again, true reaping may begin. I mean…..that’s a happy ending…ish? Right?
“I’m old enough to know when life is coming at me with its pants down.”
Ultimately, Krampus was pretty badass. It took it’s time before it got to the scary, and I fully appreciated that. It had all the elements of a great Christmas or Horror movie and the ending took a turn that was just delightful and at the very least subtle. This may turn into a yearly re-watch for me, even if I am the only one who will watch it. Totally wicked monsters and monster reveals too!