Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
The Krampus demon is fictional, but demons are very real.
demons in the Bible
Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
REVIEWS of “Christmas” movies
|Featuring:||Allison Tolman … Linda
Toni Collette … Sarah Engel
Adam Scott … Tom Engel
Emjay Anthony … Max Engel
Stefania LaVie Owen (Stefania Owen) … Beth Engel
David Koechner … Howard
Ivy George … Cherub
Conchata Ferrell … Aunt Dorothy
Luke Hawker … Krampus (in-suit performer)
Gideon Emery … Krampus (voice)
Sophie Gannon … Hero Dark Elf
|Director:||Michael Dougherty—“Trick 'r Treat” (2008)|
“You don’t want to be on his list.”
This movie was… interesting. Come to think of it, though, it may be one of the most original horror flicks out there. Even the scares aren’t just reuses of horror movie clichés. For those who don’t know (I didn’t even know before I started looking into this movie), Krampus is an old German legend of an evil monster that punishes “naughty” people at Christmas. So the movie is about a family who gets attacked by him.
This movie has some pretty witty comedy in it, but just the nature of the film alone is amusing. Despite being quite frightening, it somehow feels good-natured. It knows that no one will take a Christmas monster movie seriously, and therefore doesn’t expect to be taken seriously. This keeps it from being too disturbing.
Make no mistake, however, this is still a scary movie. I personally really like horror movies when they’re not gory, and I was very impressed with how effective this one is. Set in a snowstorm, it’s chilling in more ways than one! The atmosphere, the scary faces of the Christmas toys, and the overriding unknown, deliver a full stocking of thrilling surprises.
This film reminds me of the original “Poltergeist” movie. In fact, I could almost direct you to our review of that movie, and say to simply apply the same cautions and commendations to “Krampus,” except two things: 1) The violence is only about half as intense. 2) More caution is necessary for the language.
“Krampus” barely has any blood or gore, but there is strong peril. The only scene I felt was over the top was when a jack-in-the-box monster is shown swallowing the boots, and we understand that a character has been eaten. Otherwise, the only caution to speak of is what you’d expect from PG-13 horror. We see a few wounds inflicted in fast-paced action scenes, and there is a good balance of comically dark atmosphere and jump scares.
The profanity is my main caution about this film. There are 9 misuses of God’s names (including Jesus and Christ), “h*ll” (5), and “d*mn” (2). Vulgar language: There is an f-word, and a man says “mother…” but doesn’t finish, and there are s-words (10), “a**” (4), “a**-hole” (2), “b***hing” (1), “b***ard” (1), and a few anatomical slang words.
The ending is somewhat ambiguous, but the film does have a redemptive message. The beginning entertainingly establishes that there is a lot of friction in the Engel family. The little boy, Max, writes to Santa asking that his family would get along again. As in many family-house horror movies, the family members begin to appreciate each other when faced with the prospect of losing each other, and they have to get over their differences and work together to survive. So it’s strong on the pro-family spirit of Christmas.
This film is rightly rated PG-13 (not for kids). “Krampus” is not a must-see, but somehow it delivers a bit of holiday cheer, despite its scariness. I enjoyed it overall, but not the unnecessary bad language.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…It’s not exactly Gremlins quality, but this seasonal frightener does have a good dash of that film’s anarchic spirit…
—Benjamin Lee, The Guardian
…The Krampus is awesome—but its movie is the worst… making a murky and humorless hash out of a pretty great piece of folklore. … [1/4]
—Sara Stewart, New York Post
…a strange hybrid that doesn’t quite work… Despite its PG-13 rating, the pic is surprisingly intense, with the filmmaker strongly emphasizing the horror elements. …
—Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
…divertingly spooky Christmas thriller… it’s precisely the opposite of family-friendly…
—Justin Chang, Variety
…In ‘Krampus,’ the holiday involves a demonic Santa… lurches between treacle and terror as it stumbles toward a too-easy ending. …
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times