[Movie Review] Krampus (2015) ★★★★★

Max and Krampus in Krampus 2015

Krampus makes your Christmas wishes come true in a nightmarish winter wonderland.

Krampus is a supernatural comedy horror film that tells the story of the anti Santa Claus. Krampus originated from the folklore in the Alps. He’s a monstrous demon who punishes the bad children. Or in this case the child that has lost its faith in Christmas. It does remind of A Christmas Carol but with a child that needs a lesson instead of Scrooge. Which then results in a living nightmare. It’s a dark fairytale with great campy over the top humor, over the top characters, a wonderful Christmas vibe and lot’s of scary Christmas lores that come to life to makes this year an unforgettable scary Christmas. 

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Max isn’t enjoying Christmas. He gets into a fight with another kid during the Christmas play and the family of his mother comes to celebrate Christmas who has two girls who always bully Max. The only one with whom he still has a nice bond is his Omi. She’s the only one who urges him to send a letter to Santa Claus even he doesn’t believe in him anymore. All he wants is Christmas to be like it used to be, before it got complicated. But when at dinner he is bullied again he tears up the letter. Of course this goes not without consequences. The next morning everything is covered in a big pack of snow and a snowstorm has snowed them in. They are cut off from everything and soon they realize that something sinister is going on. Krampus is coming to get them. And Max might be the only one who can save them.

Why you should watch it

Krampus is a very joyful and horrifically fun Christmas film that has a very fun sardonic take on the wonderful time that is Christmas. It starts with the fun of Christmas shopping,  the joyful entertainment of well-behaved kids, the cozy and relaxed gathering of family and how un-stressful it is. It’s such campy fun. That alone is cause for a nightmare Christmas and also all too often a reality. 

But the real fun starts when Max gives up on Christmas entirely. That unleashes the wrath of Krampus who’s now out to get them. And he throws everything he’s got at them. Of course his evil elves, sinister snowmen, murderous gingerbread cookies, killer toys of all sorts and ironically that brings the family closer together and makes them realize what they mean to each other. And finally Krampus himself looks very impressive and fearful. 

It’s a great story that is told in a very pleasing and attractive way. It very much feels like a dark fairytale and the story Omi tells about one Christmas day when she was a little girl and lost faith is beautifully animated and adds to the fairytale vibe.

All the characters are stereotypes but in the best way possible to enhance the campy vibe. They are all unlikable except for Max and Omi. And they get what’s coming to them. But the film is redeeming as well, showing that they are not actual bad people and that there is still time to change. The twin girls are extremely annoying and you feel for Max, but when it is shown that their father rather would have had two boys and therefore treats them like boys, you can manage to feel for them too. 

The setting of a winter wonderland with limited view due to the snowstorm, a lurking Krampus and his evil minions really does give it that extreme winter feeling, and anything but a cozy feeling. The evil minions, the toys, elves and snowmen all are amazingly fun and sinister shaped and imaginatively created and are good for some evil laughs. The jack-in-the-box is great as is the Christmas angel and the Gingerbread men are hilarious. They turn Christmas into a Home Alone hell full of action, mayhem and desperation. 

The focus is always on the dark humor, while the horror is more fun than scary. There’s not much graphic violence or brutal kills or blood. Each family member just gets taken by a minion, one by one. But the ending might change that. Because the ending is quite dubious. It could be a happy ending, but it also can be a rather sinister ending. It depends on how you look at it, or interpret it. 

My favorite part

When the toys go all out to get them, then the film is at its funniest. Although no-one is getting killed in a brutal graphic way, or maybe not even killed at all, but just taken it is very fun to watch them getting swallowed up or being attacked. While the family is trying to fend them off. This whole film is very entertaining and a perfect watch for Christmas, blending that cynicism with campy fun and with a real Christmas message you should adhere.


Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Scare factor: ★★☆☆☆

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★

Cast and crew

Krampus is directed and written by Michael Dougherty and cowritten by Todd Casey  and Zach Shields. It stars Emjay Anthony (Max), Adam Scott (Tom), Toni Collette (Sarah), David Koechner (Howard), Allison Tolman (Linda), Conchata Ferrell (Aunt Dorothy), Stefania LaVie Owen (Beth), Queenie Samuel (Jordan), Maverick Flack (Howie Jr.), Lolo Owen (Stevie) and Krista Stadler (Omi).

Duration: 98 minutes. Music: Douglas Pipes. Cinematography: Jules OLoughlin. Edited by: John Axelrad. Produced by: Alex Garcia, Jon Jashni, Michael Dougherty, Thomas Tull. Production company: Legendary Entertainment, Universal Pictures. Distributed by: Universal Pictures.

Check the trailer below

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