I’ve been intrigued by the holiday horror movie Krampus since I first learned about it a few months ago. It triggered my watching Dougherty’s wonderfully subversive Halloween film, Trick R Treat, and I was eagerly counting down to its release in theaters. When I randomly checked movie listings yesterday afternoon I was thrilled to discover it was already out (for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be released until closer to Christmas), so I headed to the theater.
The movie works better if you just know the basics, so I will only say that it’s a story about a dysfunctional family that unwittingly calls the wrath of Krampus onto themselves and their small community when young Max loses his faith in Santa Claus. Creepiness ensues.
I’ll be honest: I liked Trick R Treat quite a bit more than Krampus, but my expectations may have been raised after how much I liked the Halloween themed film. The mixture of dark humour and horror blended much better in the 2007 movie. The truth is that Krampus doesn’t entirely work as a horror movie at all; there are scary elements, but they don’t overwhelm the entire atmosphere of the story. However, Krampus is an excellent story about family, holiday feeling, and appreciating what you have (even if things don’t exactly end up like they might in a Hallmark movie). Some of Max’s Christmas wishes come true through the horrific experience of facing down the dark creatures that lurk on the edges of the holiday season. At the same time I genuinely laughed at some of the familial wackiness and especially enjoyed the use of animation for a flashback sequence rather than screwing up doing live action for a five minute piece.
Do I think you should see Krampus? Absolutely! I did enjoy it even if it wasn’t my favourite Dougherty film. If you get tired of the trite holiday fare that focuses on the light side of the season and you have a taste for the dark this is the movie for you. If you want a film that pulls no punches about how families don’t always get along just because they’re related this film is for you. If you just want to see an interpretation of Krampus on the big screen this film is for you. Overall, it’s a wonderfully twisted holiday story that will tickle the funny bone of the more crazy among us.