Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Krampus" - My Review



I was pretty excited to go see the new "Krampus" movie that opened this evening. I have been somewhat infatuated with the whole folklore of Krampus since I was a young soldier stationed in Germany. As luck would have it,  I accidentally stumbled across a Krampus festival in a small town during a weekend in the Alps.  While I have enjoyed seeing Krampus gain a bit of popularity in the U.S. among the haunt industry, I was really hopeful this movie would bring a good story-telling of the Krampus character.

Directed by Michael Dougherty, "Krampus" is not a horror movie anymore than you could consider "Gremlins" a horror movie. It is a Christmas movie but I wouldn't say you will leave the theater with that Christmas, "It's a Wonderful Life" glow either. It is the darker side of Christmas. "Oma"(Krista Stadler), the Grandmother, warns, "He is the shadow of St. Nicholas". That pretty well sums up "Krampus".

Rated PG13, "Krampus" (and his minions) is the character of ancient folklore accidentally summoned upon a modern day family and their visiting relatives for not believing in St. Nicholas.

The movie sets a comedic tone right from the start with montages of Black Friday shoppers pummeling each other to the Bing Crosby Christmas carol, "Most Wonderful Time of the Year". That same type comedy pretty much continues throughout the film with that over the top dysfunctional family type humor breaking up the suspense.

Acting was really good with David Kouchner, ("I just got my ass handed to me by a bunch of Christmas cookies") and Conchata Ferrell ("It looks like Martha Stewart threw up in here") leading the comedic relief. Adam Scott did a great job playing the serious "leader" role as the Father of Emjay Anthony, who plays his son "Max". Max is the central character who ultimately is responsible for bringing Krampus to visit on Christmas. The rest of the supporting actors were great as well.

I personally thought the digital effects and sets creating  the neighborhood street consumed by a winter blizzard were top notch. The appearance of snowmen props also were top notch but had a strange look of familiarity about them... Yes, "Pumpkinrot" friends we get to see "Snowman design by Pumpkinrot" in the closing credits! Congratulations Rot!

The only CG I felt wasn't really well done was of the gingerbread cookie characters. They were so over the top ridiculous though that they were hilarious.

The Krampus character of course was not funny, and the designers did a great job at making sure he was scary and the focus of the movie's suspense. The costuming and CG really brought the character to life. I personally didn't like the costuming of the "Elves" as much, but most of the focus was on Krampus so they didn't do anything to hinder the overall quality of the movie.

I am pretty sure Krampus won't do great at the box office just by virtue of it being a "scary" movie at Christmas, the "most wonderful time of year".  It is a good movie though, with some good suspense, some good laughs, and though the ending is somewhat predictable, a good story. It will certainly get added to my Christmas DVD collection, and I'm pretty sure the Halloween folks are going to enjoy it for what it is, an entertaining movie!





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