krampus | michael dougherty | todd casey | zach shields | adam scott | toni collette | david koechner | christmas | monster | creature | creatures | monsters | comedy | fantasy | stefania lavie owen | emjay anthony | krista sadler | conchata ferrell | allison tolman
Director: Michael Dougherty
Writer: Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields
Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner
This was a film that I heard a lot about and had never gotten around to see it. Many of the podcasts I listen to always talked about how this is now in their Christmas horror film rotation. I decided this year to give it a try and get into the spirit myself. The official synopsis for this film is a boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a festive demon to his family home.
We kick this film off what looks to be either Black Friday or people doing last minute Christmas shopping. Regardless, it shows one of things that I hate most about the Christmas holiday, how commercial it has become.
The film then shifts to a family returning home. Our main character is Max (Emjay Anthony). He is actually being scolded by his parents, Tom (Adam Scott) and Sarah (Toni Collette). He got in a fight during a Christmas play. It turns out that Max still believes in Santa Claus despite his age. His grandmother, known as Omi (Krista Stadler) tries to cheer him up and tells him to write to Santa.
This family is being joined by their cousins, aunts and uncle. Max has a sister, Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen). His uncle is Howard (David Koechner). His wife is Linda (Allison Tolman). They have four children, Howie, Jr. (Maverick Flack), Jordan (Queenie Samuel) and Stevie (Lolo Owen). The interesting thing about the last two is they are girls, but the father really wanted boys. They also have a baby. Their Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell). No one is thrilled about her as she complains about everything and drinks a lot.
During dinner, the two girls get the letter that Max wrote and start to read it. He is embarrassed and wishes that Christmas would go back to the way it used to be. He then throws the ripped up letter out of the window. We then see that it goes into the sky.
The following morning, there is a horrible snowstorm and they can’t see even across the street. The power and heat are off as well. Max notices a snowman outside that wasn’t there before. Beth asks to go see her boyfriend, but when she doesn’t return home, Tom and Howard go looking for her. They find something sinister that is stalking them as everyone on the street seems to be missing.
I do want to lead off stating that this film is fun. If you haven’t gathered, I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas, but something about this film I really liked. The concept of Krampus is something I find to be absolutely fascinating. Many of us grew up with Santa Claus and we had to be good in order to get presents. It is terrifying that if you are bad, there is an evil version that will come to take you away.
What I find interesting about this film is that Krampus uses evil toys and elves as his minions. This gave me vibes of A Nightmare Before Christmas even though their toys unintentionally do bad things, because that is just how things were done in Halloweentown. The minions in this film are quite creative I have to say.
Something that really turned me off to this film before seeing it was there being a lot of comedic actors. At the time this film came out, I wasn’t the biggest fan of horror comedies. It is something that I have started to come around to, even though the crossover still isn’t my favorite. I have to say, I was wrong, because the cast definitely enhances this film, not ruin it.
Tthe pacing of the film is very well done. What I like about this film is that it does have lighter feel throughout, but it does get dark. There are some laughs that are sprinkled in, which is something I like if you are going to have comedy. This film does feel like a horror film for sure. There was a moment in it where I was going to get real angry if they decided to end a certain way. It ended up going the way I hoped it would, which is actually something I had heard on a podcast prior to watching this. It is funny to have the same reaction to this.
Acting for this film I thought was great. Anthony is interesting as he is the main character, but he falls into the background for a good portion. A lot of that is he is a kid and the parents are trying to do what they can to protect them. Scott and Koechner are interesting as they are the exact opposite of each other. You have Scott who is more left in his ideology with Koechner being right wing. They end up coming to common ground to work together which I thought was good. Collette is solid as usual. I really like Stadler as the wise older person who give the background of what is happening. Owen doesn’t have a big role, but I found her to quite cute. Ferrell was good for comedic relief and the rest of the cast round it out well for what they needed.
Something else I found to be really good were the effects. I’m assuming there was a combination of practical and CGI, but they were done seamlessly for the most part. The look of Krampus himself was great. What I found interesting is we never get to see his face, as he is wearing a Santa mask. I was completely fine with this. The elves also looked good, as their masks were creepy as well. The toys were much of the same. The only thing I had an issue with is the living ginger bread men. They were a little bit too out there for my liking. This film was shot beautifully though and I liked the effect of the storm to really make the film much more claustrophobic.
Now with that said, I thought this film was good and I’m kicking myself for not seeing it earlier. I love the concept of Krampus. It is even more interesting the minions that he brought along with him. It is an interesting perversion of Santa. I really only had issue with the living cookies from his group. The acting I thought was really good as were the effects. The editing and pacing were solid with a good ending. If you are a fan of the holidays and want to see a horror film that fits the spirit, I would recommend this one. I found this to be good.
My Rating: 8 out of 10