film reel image

film reel image

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Krampus 2015 * * * Stars

Director: Michael Dougherty
Year: 2015
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner

So is it true? Am I hearing this right? Did Universal Studios have the cojones to put out a comedy/horror/fantasy picture during the almighty silly season? Well good for them. I say bravo chap!

Anyway let's face it. Everybody loves a good holiday film. Maybe it's Scrooge you fancy. Or maybe it's Elf. Maybe it's Home Alone. Heck, it could be Mixed Nuts for all I care (oy vey). Krampus (my latest review) is Christmas-themed but it also has horror movie interludes. This thing basically gives the middle finger to all concepts of yuletide cheer and goodwill towards men. Just throw in an element of Gremlins, a dash of Assault on Precinct 13, and Two and a Half Men's Conchata Ferrell for comic relief. That's Krampus for ya. In the words of flappable Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one!"

Taking place amidst the present day and containing animation derived from one long flashback, Krampus the flick is about Krampus the horned, anthropomorphic figure. He (or she) punishes little kids who are disobedient and shout out that they hate Christmas. Max (played by Emjay Anthony) commits these offenses and much more. He also rips up a letter that he planned to give Santa Claus on the 24th. Next thing you know his family (consisting of actors/actresses Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner) is terrorized by Krampus, his monstrous elves, and just about every ghoulish entity in sight (the image of snowmen outside dwelling windows still gives me the chills the more I think about it). Over the film's short running time, the skies in turn get grayer, the snowstorms get heavier, and no other humans are out and about. Basically the whole family is trapped in their Christmassy, East Coast home. Miracle of 34th Street becomes nightmare on residential street. Natch!

Now Krampus with its bloodless violence and campy tone, is a movie that provides you with no mercy. It doesn't really frighten with jump scares or jolts. It's more about the demented images of monsters who relentlessly pursue the dysfunctional, suburban family spotlighted. Translation: Take heed if you're a parent because this 2015 release is not for the kiddies. With almost no build-up, fifteen minutes pass and you already know that chaos will rear it's ugly suture. Director Michael Dougherty provides the audience with a mixture of snarky dialogue and creature intake composed of snaggletoothed devils (masking as evil dolls). Add a ton of fake snow, howling winds, and icicles the size of Texas and you've got yourself a grim, almost totally original take on holiday, trepidation fare.

In conclusion, I decided to look up all scary movies that take place on Christ's birth. There aren't a ton of them. With Black Christmas and Silent Night, Deadly Night being the only notables, it's safe to say that Krampus might turn into a December cult favorite. Only time will tell. My rating: 3 stars.

Of note: (Spoiler alert) the ending to Krampus is mildly confusing in that you experience all 98 minutes of it and wonder if everything was just a bad dream. In hindsight, I suppose this was the right way to wrap things up. With the PG-13 rating presented, it's probably appropriate that every character didn't end up dying (chiefly the women and the children). In truth, the metaphors for this film really speak volumes. If you don't believe in the magic of holy day and adhere to the fine art of misbehaving, well the demons with claws aplenty are hastily coming to get ya. Make note on that!

Written by Jesse Burleson

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