The awesome anti-Christmas lore of Germany comes to life in this perfectly timed horror comedy from the director of the cult hit Trick ‘r Treat, Michael Dougherty. Rather than the sugar-coated coal in your stocking to punish children who have been naughty or lost the Christmas spirit, instead, Krampus comes, the anti-Santa Claus that punishes kids with his minions and eventually sends them to his fiery hell.

In this story, a relatively friendly, but slightly judgmental family consisting of Adam Scott (dad), Toni Collette (mom), Emjay Anthony (son who’s losing Christmas spirit), Stefania LaVie Owen (daughter), and Krista Stadler (grandma) is joined by their distant relatives consisting of David Koechner (uncle), Allison Tolman (aunt), Conchata Ferrell (great aunt) and their three kids to celebrate Christmas together. When Krampus comes, things get insane.

The extended family is a bit white trash and rude, while our main characters are mostly good-natured and well-meaning, but a little distant and close-minded toward their relatives. Krampus realizes the disconnect in the family, and sends his minions down to punish them.

It’s these minions that are the main issue of the film. Many of their scares are introduced in the trailer, and they aren’t really that scary, aside from one scene. The actual figure of Krampus himself is much more intimidating, and we’d like to see his methods in action a bit more, but instead, he waits for his minions, and then takes control of the situation eventually. That being said, the film is creative with its costume design and visuals, and it does well in terms of crafting something very unique. There’s a bit of Gremlins reference, but it’s mostly original, devoid of cheap scares, and stead going for that unique tone.

Krampus is a lot of fun, it’s certainly unique and manages to have a silly tone despite some pretty harrowing material. David Koechner is really funny in this, and him working along side Conchata Ferrell and Adam Scott makes some hilarity within the insanity. It’s never quite scary enough or quite funny enough to be truly great, but some practicality in the effects and a really fun tone makes this pretty much worth recommending for a fun Holiday romp.

 

3 stars

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