Krampus Movie Review

Hafa adai! It's your friendly Island Boy Manuel bringing you the latest NERDTASTIC NEWS with an ISLAND VIEW and today I'm bringing you my review of last year's newest heartwarming holiday film, Krampus!

To be honest, this film was on my radar for a while but for one reason or another I never got around to seeing it in theaters, but this week I had a free VUDU rental so I thought, "what the hell"?

The film opens up with a reminder of the rampant consumerism that plagues our culture. Slow motion and wide angle shots of people trampling each other and fighting over items and two young boys dressed as Joseph and Rudolph duking it out while people record it on their cell know, all the trappings of a Christmas classic.

We then meet our main characters, workaholic and all around nice guy, Tom (Adam Scott), and his Martha Stewart-esque wife, Sarah (Toni Collette),and their two children. First is teen daughter, Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen), and Max (Emjay Anthony), the Rudolph from the opening who still believes in Santa and the magic of Christmas.

While there is nothing outright wrong with these characters...the problem is that there is nothing outright wrong with these characters. You get the impression that Tom travels alot and is a workaholic, but none of that is put into the performance. Sarah is set up as an uppity shrew, but she seems likable enough and same with Beth; they seem like they are going to be these caricatures, but in the grand scheme they are all likable and very vanilla.

This is in contrast to Sarah's sister, Linda (Alison Tolman) and her family, a bunch of cartoon Republicans. These include her husband, Howard (David Koechner), a gun toting alpha male type, Sarah's aunt (Conchata Ferrell), who is cranky and often drunk and their one note bully children who pick on soft, sensitive Max for still believing in Santa.

Once they push Max to his breaking point they seem to incur the wrath of Krampus, thus introducing Tom's expository plot device, er I mean, mother (Krista Stadler), to explain the legend of Krampus. Using some truly gripping animation pulled from Tim Burton's playbook, she tells about her own personal encounter with him when she was young. After that the family must band together to face the forces of evil and survive the onslaught of rejects from a "Five Nights at Freddy's" game.

"Krampus" comes to us from Michael Dougherty, the mastermind behind "Trick 'r Treat." Unlike that film's anthology format, this film is more akin to Club Dread, Vampire in Brooklyn, or Gremlins. It tries to deliver the creepiness and genuine scares while also delivering big laughs.

This film actually succeeds on both fronts, but still manages to feel disjointed. This is most likely because of how long it takes for this movie to get started. The first half of the film is a slow burn with next to no creatures on screen, then it quickly becomes a CGI creature feature as it sprints toward the end.

So was it good? Bad? Maybe a little of both? Well, I liked it. Sure, some of the action is hard to follow because it's mostly quick closeup, but the creature effects are well done...except for the obvious CGI gingerbread men. The character deaths feel forced since the film takes a no one's safe aproach and kills off the cast in rapid fire succession so they rarely feel earned. I thought the acting was great with not a lot of camp and the actors playing it very straight, even while fighting the above mentioned gingerbread men.

All in all, I say if you haven't seen Krampus it's definitely a good time.


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