Rule 1. Keep Krampus away from bright lights
Rule 2. Don’t get him wet
Rule 3. Never feed him after midnight
Krampus is above most PG-13 horror films of its kind in that it isn’t completely terrible. In fact, it’s quite alright for the most part. Michael Dougherty directs this movie as though it were a more family friendly version of Trick r’ Treat, his previous film. Both share similar themes about the holiday spirit and about punishing those who do not respect traditions. Krampus unfortunately suffers from an uneven plot and not enough humor or scares to have it reach a cult following like Gremlins, even though you can tell it’s trying.
Much like the beginning of Home Alone, Krampus starts out with a dysfunctional family gathering that leads to a boy wishing his family would go away forever. The demon-Santa, Krampus, comes into town to fulfill that wish. Will they band together and survive? Or burn in hell because a kid tore up his Christmas letter to Santa?
The problem with this movie lies heavily on its story and characters. Most of them are stereotypes of a dysfunctional family and not very relatable or likable. The story also has a problem maintaining momentum. It follows a very repetitive formula and the horror parts, which are by far the most entertaining, are too far between and are largely saved for the last 20 minutes of the film. Another problem is that the ending feels very rushed, like they realized they were out of money and just decided they had to skip to the end. The movie would’ve probably been better had they ended it at a certain point instead of continuing on with the story, but that might be up to personal taste.
Things the movie does well is that most of the horror aspects of the movie are well done, including Krampus’ opening scene which is great. Sparse use of CGI and relying on practical effects really add more depth to the film and are mostly well done. The monsters were really cool, but unfortunately the movie spends all of 15 minutes with them. Some of the humor works and the movie knows not to take itself too seriously, though the mix doesn’t always work. There also many nods to other Christmas and horror movies which are nice touches for fans of the genre.
Though Krampus isn’t the next Gremlins, Trick r’ Treat, or even Tremors, it’s an above average dark-comedy Christmas family horror movie. Load up on cookies and eggnog and you should be able to have a pretty decent time with this flick.
Overall Score: 3/5 Stars
Time to go watch Gremlins for the hundredth time.