Today’s Prayer Focus
Copyright, Universal Pictures


MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sequences of horror violence/terror, language and some drug material.

Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler

Moral Rating: Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Adults
Genre: Christmas Fantasy Dark-Comedy Horror
Length: 1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release: 2015
USA Release: December 4, 2015 (wide—2,902 theaters)
DVD: April 26, 2016
Copyright, Universal Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues

dysfunctional families

The Krampus demon is fictional, but demons are very real.

Demonic attack

demons in the Bible

Satan / Devil

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

DEMON POSSESSION and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer

sin and the fall of man (compare to goodness and righteousness

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

What is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS?
What is the TRUE meaning of Christmas? Answers for skeptics. Plus carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more.

Christmas movies
REVIEWS of “Christmas” movies

Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Featuring Allison Tolman … Linda
Toni ColletteSarah 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
See all »
Director Michael Dougherty — “Trick 'r Treat” (2008)
Producer Legendary Pictures
Universal Pictures

“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.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments from young people
Positive—“Krampus” is probably the best Christmas-horror film I’ve ever seen, and it is a roller coaster ride of creepy fun! The story follows Max, a young boy with an innocent love of Christmas. When his whole family gathers together for Christmas, and he is embarrassed and bullied by his two tomboy cousins, max takes his letter to Santa, tears it up, and throws the tattered remains out the window. He looses his Christmas spirit and wishes his family would just go away. Big mistake. The next thing you know, Max’s wish has inadvertently summoned Krampus, the anti-santa and unleashed a nightmare upon himself, his family, and the whole town.

I like to start my movie reviews with the positives before moving on to the negatives. I enjoy a good scary flick when it’s not gory or profane. This movie accomplished… one of those. I am happy to say there is very little blood to be seen in this film. The most we see is on someone’s pant leg after that leg is mauled by an unseen creature in the snow. Other than that, the violence is pretty clean.See all ».
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Mia, age 19 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Movie Critics
…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