Saturday, December 5, 2015

Movie Review #349: "Krampus" (2015)

Director: Michael Dougherty
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
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A young boy named Max (Emjay Anthony), who has always kept the spirit of Christmas close to his heart, has finally had it crushed by his cynical extended family. In his grief, he accidentally summons Krampus, the shadow of Saint Nicholas who punishes the naughty on Christmas. 

Krampus is a figure based on Alpine folklore. Where Santa Claus brings presents to those who were good, Krampus delivers punishment to those who were naughty. Krampus gathers wicked children up in his sack and drags them back with him to the underworld. In the tradition of films like "Gremlins," director Michael Dougherty takes this ancient folklore and turns it into a wonderful Christmas-themed horror comedy. This film offers up plenty of laughs with a great cast including Toni Collette, Adam Scott, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, and Conchata Ferrell. Collette and Scott play Sarah and Tom, who are your average suburban upper-middle class family. They have two kids, a daughter Beth, played by Stefania LaVie Owen, a teenager who has her face constantly buried in her phone and is only interested is spending time with her boyfriend, and a son Max, played by Emjay Anthony, who still likes to believe in Santa and the spirit and tradition of the Christmas holiday. When Sarah's sister Linda, played by Allison Tolman, comes to visit with her gun toting, hummer driving, sports and hunting loving husband Howard, played perfectly by Dabid Koechner, along with their brood of children and her unruly, outspoken Aunt Dorothy, played by Cochata Ferrell, things, of course, go terribly wrong. Max's cousins make fun of him for his belief in Santa as they steal and read his very heartfelt letter to Santa Claus out loud at dinner, mocking him mercilessly. This crushes Max and causes him to curse his family and the Christmas spirit as he rip up his letter and tosses it out the window, where it magically finds its way to Krampus. This is when a lot of the fun starts as Krampus shows up with his legion of elves, demonic toys, and Christmas treats, ready to do some tormenting as they collect the family one by one to make Max's wish come unfortunately true.

We love Christmas horror movies, but let's be clear, this is not a blending of Halloween and Christmas. Just because a movie is in the horror genre doesn't mean it has to do with the Halloween holiday. This movie beings and ends in December, 3 days before Christmas, and just happens to be a quite terrifying and sometimes horrific PG-13 film. We're usually the first people to bemoan the fact that a horror movie gets a PG-13 rating, but "Krampus" really pushes the line between PG-13 and R. There are several f-bombs, and lots of scary imagery, even scary to us, and we don't scare easily! The make-up, conceptual design, and special effects work for the Krampus character, as well as his demon toys, which are all excellent looking. Most of the film is comprised of practical effects, props, and make-up work, which we obviously love and appreciate in a world over-saturated with phony, poorly constructed CGI. Though Krampus' gingerbread minions are CGI, we didn't mind them at all and their execution was just great for how they were needed. Many of the toys offer the right amount of creepiness mixed with some excellent humor to create a very B-movie feel, but with A-list actors. The most freaky of Krampus' toys minions might be the child-eating Jack in the Box complete with demon mouth and unhinged jaws at the side of its awful face. Krampus himself is an imposing and awesome looking towering goat man with huge horns and goat eyes. The sets, the settings, the sounds, everything in this film conjures up images of Christmas, from the snow, to the jingling bells, to the nicely wrapped presents under the perfectly ornamented tree, to the hilarious and painfully accurate opening scene depicting shoppers of all ages, races, and sizes battling it out in a big box store for the very last ugly rocking horsey.

We loved every minute of this film and will most definitely add it to our Christmas collection for regular holiday viewing in the future.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~63%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!!

1 comment:

  1. I had never heard of this ledgers until I read your review on IG and had to look it up! Those Germans don't play around! Watch out kids! I want to see it but I am afraid. I am such a weiny! Is it like M Night scary or REALLY scary?