“Krampus” is very much like any other Christmas style horror movie though it does show a small effort to be different. Just not the difference I was expecting.
“Krampus” is billed as a combination of both comedy and horror. Just not sure if they meant laughing with or laughing at. There are some comedic moments if you are so jaded as to see the threat of terrible death as amusing in a Nazi Death Concentration Camp sort of way. You could look at the different Krampus helpers and smile at the parody that no character seems to get since they are running for their life. At no time did I laugh during this movie — but I did smile one or twice.
The actors seems fine. The dialogue lets them down. Plus, the director forgot to tell them this isn’t a comedy anymore. It was nice seeing Conchata Ferrell in a role. Most people will remember Adam Scott, who plays the dad, from “Parks and Recreation.” The mom, Oscar-nominated Toni Collette, is well remembered for playing the mother in “The Sixth Sense” along with starring in her own television show, “The United States of Tara.”
The main focus of the story revolves around the young son Max who still believes in Christmas and Santa Claus and joyful holiday cheer. He just wishes his family did too. Because of this, the movie would have played better as a Hallmark Hall of Fame flick without the horror. The audience doesn’t get a chance to break away from the sense of a childlike version of family to take the horror seriously. The effects and puppetry come across more like funhouse dummies which is a shame. The effects deserved more set up than they got.
The special effects are physical and digital. It is no surprise the effects are so well done since they are done by Weta, the Oscar-winning effects team responsible for such iconic films as the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” series. In fact, many of the dark elves in “Krampu” bring experience from the “LOTR” and “Hobbit” series, including Mark Atkin who was the stunt double for Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The clown was a show stoper.
Surprisingly tame. There is some blood but no body parts are removed from their owners and the blood isn’t overdone. The horror is directed more at the hint of what is coming next rather than what is happening now. It is more “Hitchcock” than “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Actually, it felt more like the Griswolds, but not funny
The best parts do involve Christmas icons who become possessed by the spirit of Krampus. They become twisted to reflect the nauseating ways Christmas has deviated from the original spirit over the generations. Unfortunately, this is more evident in the imagery than the dialogue. I’m surprised that no one came up with the slogan, “Beware the Gingerbread Men!”
…but, it starts out being the worst part of the movie. Before it is done, it confirms earlier traitorous misgivings of rooting for Krampus. If you do go see this movie (pick the cheap day of the week), and you start to groan at the end, feeling you’ve wasted every penny of your five dollar cheapie ticket, hang in there. I did like the way the ending ended — just not the way it started. It will pay off and reward you.