Krampus

"Good"

Krampus Review


Based on ancient mythology, this Christmas horror movie has a gleefully nasty attitude that makes it entertaining even if it isn't properly frightening. This is mainly because the marauding monsters remain sketchy at best, never developing anything more than a superficial sense of dread. But the ace cast is terrific at engaging the audience,and the filmmakers keep viewers gripped as they play merrily with cliches from both horror and holiday movies.

It opens on a recognisably stressed-out Christmas season, as Tom and Sarah (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) feel their relationship straining under the pressure of work and holiday plans. They and their teen kids Beth and Max (Stefania LaVie Owen and Emjay Anthony) are dreading the arrival of their Aunt Linda and Uncle Howard (Allison Tolman and David Koechner) and their boorish kids. Then the drunken Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell) turns up unannounced. Tom's German mother (Krista Stadler) watches all of this with a silent, knowing dread. But the real threat is outside the house, as a vicious ice storm settles in, knocking out the power and unleashing a ferocious Anti-Santa and his evil gang of elves and killer toys.

The film is strikingly well shot and edited, as director Michael Dougherty orchestrates the comedy, drama and action to focus on the gifted actors. While the design and in-camera effects are clever, much of the digital effects work is ropey, giving the movie a cartoonish sheen. And the monsters themselves are eerily expressionless: ghoulish puppets with immobile faces. So they're extremely creepy, but not particularly menacing, because they have no personalities at all. Thankfully, Scott, Collette, Koechner and Tolman are experts at sliding effortlessly between comedy, drama and terror. And young Anthony gives the film a blast of resonance as Max, a boy still young enough to believe in Santa who thinks he has brought all of this violence down on his family.

In the end, this is a guilty pleasure movie that merely wants to make the audience laugh and scream in equal measures. But the laughter wins out, even in the most vicious sequence, a particularly frenzied attack in the attic in which it's impossible not to be amused by the grisliness unleashed by a killer jack-in-the-box, teddy bear and angel doll. After the knowingly astute exploration of how Christmas has become a soulless exercise in shopping and coping with obnoxious relatives, this onslaught of relentless nastiness is almost a let-down, probably because the filmmakers aren't quite willing to get genuinely grim during the festive season.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Krampus here:



Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 8 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th December 2015

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 8.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Alex Garcia, Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull

Starring: as Tommy, as Sarah, as Linda, as Howard, as Max, as Aunt Dorothy, Queenie Samuel as Krampus, Conchata Ferrell as Cherub, Luke Hawker as Hero Dark Elf

Also starring:

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