by Andrew Read
The words “Christmas movie” make people think of all different things. For some, it might conjure images of the claymation classics, such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Other people might think of more farcical films like A Christmas Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s safe to say, however, that the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when thinking about the holiday season isn’t a horror movie. The movie Krampus challenges that idea by approaching Christmas in a much darker light.
The movie starts of in an interesting way, by displaying the hectic interior of a department store as people fight tooth and nail over various toys and pieces of merchandise, set to “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” The scene does a good job of conveying the overall theme of the movie, which is the loss of the true meaning of Christmas.
Beyond that, the movie continues on to seem like a standard Christmas movie, with the protagonist’s cousins, aunt and uncle arriving to spend the weekend. Conflict arises nearly instantly as the wildly differing families clash, with a culmination of the protagonist losing his faith in Santa and Christmas as a whole.
That’s when the movie begins to take a turn for the spooky, with a mysterious and ominous blizzard rolling in and knocking out power to the whole neighborhood. Not long after, the family begins to be picked off one by one as Krampus punishes them for their lack of Christmas spirit.
Overall, the movie is more unsettling than anything, and more often than not whenever the film does start to turn for the scary the mood is quickly broken by an attempt at humor. To its credit, the film does a good job at being humorous, although that may not be the best thing for a movie advertised as horror. While there are a few cliches and overused tropes, Krampus does a relatively good job of creating suspense. There are also a fair amount of small twists peppered throughout the movie.
All things considered, I would definitely recommend watching Krampus, although I would also recommend keeping your expectations average, and perhaps waiting for it to come out on DVD rather than spending the money to watch it on the big screen.