Krampus (2015)
December 8, 2015 3:01 PM - Subscribe

Max is a true believer who has become jaded with Christmas. As his extended family visits for what promises to be a terrible three day celebration, Max makes a wish that he soon begins to regret. Krampus is the new holiday horror film from director Michael Dougherty.

Krampus is, of course, actually a part of germanic myth. "Krampus is the dark companion of St. Nicholas, the traditional European winter gift-bringer who rewards good children each year on December 6. The kindly old Saint leaves the task of punishing bad children to a hell-bound counterpart The Horned Devil, also known as Krampusknown by many names across the continent — Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf, and Krampus. " You can see historical depections of him here.

Reviews are all over the place: Entertainment Weekly writes, 'If you love Gremlins but don’t feel like rewatching Gremlins, consider Krampus a worthwhile diet caffeine-free alternative.' for a solid B. The NYT is less friendly, 'Occasionally funny, intermittently scary, but mostly hectic and sloppy, “Krampus” tries very hard to be a different kind of Christmas movie. It wants to have its store-bought fruitcake and eat it too, to satirize the meanness and materialism of holiday-observing Americans and also connect with the vaguely defined real meaning of the season.'
posted by codacorolla (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If the entire movie were of the same flavor as the scene in the attic with the evil toys, this would have been pretty great. Unfortunately there wasn't nearly enough camp to be the movie I hoped it would be, and there was too much camp (and too much glurge) for it to be properly scary.
posted by phunniemee at 3:10 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I liked it, overall, but agree that some parts were uneven. I felt like the cast was a little too stuffed (I could've done without the alcoholic aunt, and maybe 1 or 2 of the kids and the baby in the extended family), and that lead to a shaky focus that didn't focus enough on any of the characters. That being said, there were fantastic set pieces, and just great visuals all around.

I also thought there was a sly political aspect to it. You have two families who fit into left/right stereotypes of American politics, who don't seem to want to have anything to do with one another, being forced to confront an existential level threat. That's played against the Black Friday scene at the start, and the very brief news reporter talking about 'the war on Christmas'. The grandmother has been here before, seemingly in post-war Germany. However, because of the lack of focus, I don't know that anything greater ever ends up coming out of that.

I'd still recommend it though. Red Letter Media called it a 'gateway horror' movie, meaning something that kids could watch that would have some scares, but not too much gore or adult situations. They also make the Gremlins comparison.
posted by codacorolla at 3:40 PM on December 8, 2015

Well, Gremlins creeps me the fuck out, so I won't be watching this...
posted by stoneandstar at 5:04 PM on December 8, 2015

Weird, I'm used to movie name collisions, but there was another 2015 Movie "Krampus: The Reckoning" that doesn't seem to have any relation to this movie.
posted by el io at 9:10 PM on December 8, 2015

Redbox wasted no time pushing it into their gadgets to try to capitalize on confusion, too.
posted by phearlez at 11:37 AM on December 10, 2015

I loved that Krampus gives Zero Fucks about redemption and that in the end, broken families are sent to live out happy lives in The Krampus Snowglobe Collection. I interpret all of that to mean that Krampus is actually a lonely grandma who was abandoned by her family and has channeled her rage into a hobby.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:51 PM on December 12, 2015

Just watched this twisted little homage to Joe Dante. There's two ways to interpret the ending. One, that they are trapped inside the snow globe for eternity. Or two, Max has been warned to keep Christmas in their hearts and Krampus is forever watching. The director and writers aren't talking BUT according to this the graphic novel chooses ending two. It makes sense. Max does what grandma failed to do, he offers himself as a sacrifice. So everyone is alive but upon opening the box they all know Krampus is watching and they better watch out.
posted by Ber at 5:55 AM on December 24, 2016

Just watched this tonight. There were some funny bits and some eerie bits -- Krampus and his horde were satisfyingly freaky -- but it didn't work so well as a whole. The tone was too uneven. Whenever Toni Collette was screaming or otherwise carrying on, I wanted to say to her, "Oh, come on, Toni, this isn't Hereditary." And I didn't even really like Hereditary.
posted by orange swan at 8:48 PM on December 7, 2019

I agree wholeheartedly with phunniemee.

The tones just aren't balance well. The beginning was too much of a cute family Xmas comedy and the jump to Xmas horror was too sudden, without proper foreshadowing, and worst of all, wasn't as much a thematic parallel to the family's real world issues to function as a complement. It could have been a ghost or an escaped lunatic and it would not have changed anything.

None of the second half arcs work as payoffs for the Christmastime problems laid out in the first act.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:49 AM on December 7, 2022

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