Dir. Michael Dougherty (2015)
A young boy who is losing the spirit of Christmas accidentally summons a demon who punishes those who don’t celebrate the holidays.
We’ve all been there, right? You go off to Christmas with your relatives who are the exact opposite of you, who drive you crazy with each word that comes out of their mouth, and who are just the antithesis of someone that you would otherwise choose to be around. Hell, we’ve seen an even greater influx of this in the last six years than we’ve perhaps ever seen in our country’s history. You can’t talk politics, you can’t talk sports anymore, and you can’t even stand to look at some of these people because you’ve seen their Facebook posts. And yet, there they are, for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes in between, every comment dripping with sarcasm in a way that just makes you want to punch them in the goddamned mouths.
Director Michael Dougherty hit the nail on the head with this holiday experience that we all know and love with 2015’s Krampus, showing us two sides of a family where neither is particularly likeable but both have endearing aspects about them nonetheless. We get another amazing performance from Toni Collette as the mother, with Adam Scott and David Koechner, as well as newcomer Emjay Anthony, being terrific as well. The monsters in the movie are terrifying, from the impish elves to the CGI-laden Christmas cookies, and absolutely none of them would be welcome guests for Christmas. The humor hits more often than not, and there’s plenty of jokes that are intended for adults as well as the children, so there’s a little something for everyone.
It’s always interesting when a Christmas movie decides to explore more than just the standard, Coca Cola™ Christmas stories, and there are hundreds of legends and folk stories around the globe about terrifying creatures who seek to punish misbehaving children and those who have lost their Christmas spirit. The fact that there are parts of the world who ardently believe in this bizarre goat-horned creature is astounding, but I can tell you for sure that I’d be more likely to behave if I thought a terrifying goat demon was going to trap me in a snow globe where I was forced to relive the worst Christmas of my imagination than if I thought a fat dude was going to give me charcoal. So, I get the parent’s reasoning, is what I’m saying. Either way, I love the idea that parents nowadays can show their children this movie and be like, yeah, this is real life. Fucking behave. I’m down for living in that kinda world.
It had been a while since a really good Christmas horror movie had been released before Krampus, at least one that caught the attention of the masses. It’s not uncommon for a Christmas horror movie to be a mixture of funny and scary, but it’s not incredibly common that it’s done this well. Krampus is an excellent film with recognizable stars, some outstanding creature effects, and some genuinely scary moments that give it a lasting effect that will stand up well for years to come. It’s probably my second favorite Christmas horror movie, behind Gremlins, and it’s well worth a watch for anyone who hasn’t seen it before and worth another watch for anyone who has.
Who this movie is for: Christmas horror lovers, Creature feature fans,
Bottom line: Krampus is excellent, a wonderful throwback to holiday horrors past with some fantastic performances and more scary imps than you can shake a stick at. It’s a fantastic family movie, one that’s not too scary for the young’ns but contains more than enough creep factor for adults. The wintry wonderland crafted in the film is phenomenal, giving the whole experience a “trapped in a snow globe” feel, and it’s exactly the ambience that the movie needed to put it over the top into being one of the best Christmas horror movies ever made. Check it out, and add it to your yearly holiday rotation.