Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Adam Scott – Tom
Toni Collette – Sarah
Emjay Anthony – Max
Allison Tolman – Aunt Linda
David Koechner – Uncle Howard
Krista Stadler – Omi
Stefania LaVie Owen – Beth
Luke Hawker – Krampus
Krampus was fantastic; in the most hideous way. The script, the scares, the acting and choice of actors. The pace at how it ran, the terrible one-liner’s, the concept, the tacky old-fashioned visuals used to display killer toys..
Quite literally everything about this movie was bad. Ironically, the production of it mirrored the plot; a situation or event that you’d expect to enjoy – reversed. Where everything about Christmas had been fucked up for the family, everything about the movie was fucked up also.
I loved it.
Because it was so awful.
Following in the footsteps of movies like You’re Next, Krampus delivers the non-scary scares with (not enough) blood splattering everywhere. Complementing these are characters you genuinely couldn’t give a shit about; the irritating kids you want to get eaten, the interfering grandmother, the oblivious husband, and the stupid aunt who simply stands on the spot screaming at things instead of actually fighting them, or running away.
Uncle Howard kick-starts the far-fetched, unbelievable action with his animated antics at the dinner table. He doesn’t just deliver some truly patronising dialogue, but does so in an over-emphasized way – as though speaking to very small children. Even when talking to the adults. Later on in the movie he is attacked by a gang of gingerbread men (yes – it gets that hilarious), and becomes the classic gun-wielding old dude who grabs the nearest weapon, blasts the enemy and announces a cheesy one-liner through a puff of smoke. Some of his scenes had me wincing with embarassment. It was awful stuff.
Although main characters, the youngest of the cast were shocking. Largely forgettable and having no impact whatsoever, Jordan (Queenie Samuel) and Stevie (Lolo Owen) blended into the background with expressionless faces and absolutely no dynamic between them. They were plain-faced and boring, bringing nothing to the feature but pivotal figures; I knew their position and which relations they were but didn’t take them into account at all.
Their brother Howie Jr. literally had a face like a constipated anus; but even he didn’t manage to stand out from the crowd.
The ‘non-believer’ scene paved the way slowly to the complete madness with some brilliantly sinister visuals. Max (Anthony) outshone all younger cast – and not just because he was the lead character. The kid does his job well by displaying an angry face and tears of frustration in this early scene, which gave feeling to the story. I could understand the kid’s pain as he stood tearing up his letter to Santa and throwing it out the window. This scene radiates an eerie atmosphere; the pieces of letter float up into the air, and the clouds start to churn and darken. And as the drastic weather comes in, the family become snowed under.
The visuals when young Beth becomes trapped outside are good. The screen turns misty as she runs through thick snow – with ‘someone’ pouncing from roof to roof across the houses nearby. This bit kept my eyes fixed on the screen, I found the loud pounding across the rooftops, her screams, and the overall weirdness of it quite watchable. Anticipation was key here as I also wondered what that jumping thing was underneath its cloak..
A bit later on in the movie when the family are forced to sleep in the lounge due to a power cut, one of the kids is woken up by a strange visitor who pops down the chimney in the middle of the night. And suddenly all hell breaks loose. Guilty pleasure kicked in again as Christmas toys sprang to life – with killer instinct. Grotesque dolls, man-eating clowns, teddy bears with razor teeth.. Krampus suddenly became absolute fucking pandemonium, with each member of the family – adults included – falling prey to a soft toy.
When I say ‘guilty pleasure’ I mean that classic feeling of indulging in pure stupidity. I loved it.
I’ve mentioned this in a few previous reviews, but Krampus reminded me of a Goosebumps book; its sinister storyline and grotesque characters. Simple kids toys coming to life and causing havoc. And the main protagonist being a young boy who accidentally caused it all with a simple action. Unlike many Goosebumps books though, the children aren’t tormented on their own with unbelieving parents; these parents are just as involved.
Mother Sarah gets jumped by a horrible looking doll that uses a string of Christmas fairy lights to hang her from the ceiling, father Adam falls victim to an evil clown inside – then something terrifying under the snow outside, uncle Howard’s showdown with the gingerbread gang is nothing short of hilarious. And after cowering from it all, aunt Linda suddenly springs into action and goes on the rampage, swinging an axe and fighting back against the toys. It’s all just fantastic – but in a crap way. Tacky, poorly staged and implausible, I found myself lapping up all 97 minutes of the sheer escapism.
And that was before grandma Omi announced the arrival of a group of visitors working alongside Krampus himself..
The main question running through my head during this movie though, was why a beast would literally kill people – just because a little boy doesn’t believe in Santa (Christmas) anymore. Bit harsh, no?
Visiting the family to knock the tree over or something fine, but actually wanting to destroy them because their little sibling threw a tantrum?
My review ends here. I think you get the picture of just how stupid Krampus is. Stupid but oddly enjoyable. It’s one of ‘those’ movies.
Perfect for teenagers, it oozes the sort of immaturity younger viewers would enjoy heartily. It contains no meaningful love story, neither does it focus on a specific relationship and its issues. In fact all key elements viewers usually find in a movie do not exist, this is purely a wacky portrayal of an Alpine urban legend. And the producers bring Santa’s shadow to life nicely – the beast itself is a strange creature, but I did find myself urging it to reveal itself so I got a good glimpse at exactly what it was. The element of anticipation, nice.
If you sit down to watch Krampus expecting absolutely nothing, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it. So bad it’s good, director Michael Dougherty takes an urban legend and gift-wraps it with dark comedy and twisted personalities. Sickly bright colours blended with evil clowns, tinsel mixed with killer gingerbread men, the Christmas tree replaced by a towering horned beast.. you get the idea. The whole thing is deliciously grotesque.
I just can’t decide if casting Toni Collette as the mother was a good or bad decision. On one hand, the actress lowered her standards drastically. But on the other, she got stuck in to her role nicely and it was interesting to see her lead a horror movie.
On a more serious note, if you’re thinking of paying to see Krampus – DON’T.
It may be hilariously weird, but it’s certainly not worth a penny of your money. View for free only.