Krampus Movie Review

For ages we’ve been trapped in the dark era of Hollywood remakes, sequels, prequels, and who-gives-a-shit-quels. Our seasonal favorites were largely born from another time when ideas could be viewed as original. These are all reasons why our pop culture lives needed Krampus!!


I was fortunate to watch this movie as part of the RVA Krampusnacht week here in Richmond, Virginia. It served as the finale of the event a Krampus-themed art show, a Krampus walk down Richmond’s popular shopping area called Carytown, and then the RVA Horror Book Club’s meeting to discuss KRAMPUS: SHADOW OF SAINT NICHOLAS. Here’s a picture my wife really took of the crowd we got to watch the movie with.




Krampus – directed by Michael Dougherty




The movie doesn’t waste any time getting proving why we needed to be reminded of the need for a vengeful holiday spirit. It’s slow motion opening montage of Christmas shopping chaos is hysterically appropriate and sets the lightheartedly. Nothing about this movie is normal so I feel this was necessary in order to immediately separate the movie from a typical horror flick. We quickly meet the focal character, a young boy named Max, and the rest of his comically tragic family disfunction. I liked Max’s character a lot, which is a rarity in child actors. It was easy to believe in his innocence as well as his frustration over the situation.


Before long Max inadvertently summons the wrath of Krampus. The time between the initial summoning and the Krampi-filled shenanigans is my only complaint about the movie. It wasn’t at all ‘bad’, but it did drag compared to the rest of the film. However, I’m not sure the meat of the movie would have been as effective without the staging. The staging, by the way, is thoroughly crafted with the onset of a blizzard that quickly turned the area into a winter nightmare.


I don’t want to get any more specific in this review because it really is a movie that deserves to be experienced. The casting was fantastic – especially Adam Scott who played a father-figure I could relate to. Special effects were mostly spot on – the Gingerbread men were a bit lacking, but made up for it in their actions. I’d like to see a behind the scenes featurette to figure out where the line between practical effects and digital was drawn. The fact you even have to ponder which was used is a pat on the back to director Michael Dougherty for integrating it all into a seamless finished product. Every set piece was perfectly immersive. Their animated backstory piece was tastefully effective, far more than a live-action segment would have been. I’m also very glad they didn’t feel the need to involve the jolly fat man outside of conversational reference or the mall Santa. This was rightfully Krampus’ movie through and through.


The finished product is a hell of a lot of fun. Krampus is the perfect balance of jumps and scares while making you laugh and give a damn all at the same time. It’s holiday horror with heart and will deservingly become a new Christmas tradition for many (my family included).


My rating of Krampus is 8.5 out of 10.


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Keep yourself on the nice list and go see it in the theater. I promise you won’t regret it!