Krampus is a creature from ancient European folklore. It is a horned beast who punishes naughty children during Christmas time. Krampus is known to be St. Nicholas’ shadow, so instead of seeing Santa Claus, naughty children will be see his shadow. In this film, “Krampus,” directed by Michael Dougherty, the monster not only punishes children, but their family members as well.
The film starts with Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas” playing during the opening credits. This leads the audience to believe the film is another regular Christmas story. But then it is clear the Christmas spirit is not present in everyone while people fight, children cry and store employees grapple with the madness of last minute shoppers. “Krampus” shows the selfishness of modern Christmas with horrific imagery and a hint of nasty humor.
The acting throughout the film is very well done; Beth (Stefina LaVie Owen) shows how much she really cares for boyfriend and how her cousins disgust her by acting like horrible children. Max’s mother (Toni Collette) is up tight and stresses about everything, and his father (Adam Scott) is a workaholic. Max (Emjay Anthony) holds the Christmas spirit with his grandmother, Omi (Krista Stadler), with full of love of Christmas until he reaches his breaking point from his cousins’ terror. The sense of humor comes more from Max’s aunt and uncle (Allison Tolman and David Koechner) and alcoholic great Aunt (Conchata Ferrell) with their slick remarks and bickering among everyone. They embarrass Max by reading his letter to Santa to everyone. After that, Max loses all his Christmas spirit, but this has dangerous consequences.
While the soundtrack in the beginning makes audiences believe that this a regular Christmas movie, once it gets close to the time when Max’s family was being hunted down by Krampus and his minions the music changes to more a minor chord with a dark tone to emphasize the evil is near.
The set was like every Christmas movie with the fake smiles and unwanted attitudes. The special effects were very detailed, especially Krampus with his old, haggard, dark face. The elves and Krampus’s other minions were scary looking, especially the first minions that terrorize the family. This elf has its mouth stretched open to eat one of the family members, and he tries to cut them up in pieces. Looking up close on Krampus’s face right before he took Omi, the detail of the whole character was well thought out and interesting. Krampus resembles St. Nick with his snow white beard and red coat, but that is where the similarities end.
As a whole, “Krampus” is fantastic to watch with people who have lost the true meaning of Christmas. This film has some areas that could use some work; for instance, the acting felt too robotic. However, the message that Michael Dougherty is trying to convey is never forget the true meaning of Christmas. “Krampus” gets a 4/5 for the message, special effects and the interest for a possible sequel.