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.

 

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Krampus – directed by Michael Dougherty

 

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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!

KRAMPUS: SHADOW OF SAINT NICHOLAS by Michael Dougherty

Santa’s less-jolly partner, Krampus, was once confined to German folklore but is now making a huge resurgence here in the States. For the unfamiliar, Krampus steps in where the jolly fat man won’t in hopes of whipping those naughty kids into shape. I love the concept because children these days need a Krampus in their lives. Good behavior is reinforced for the sake of being GOOD rather than doing it for presents. Children who need encouragement get some quality time with a birch rod (or worse).

 

KRAMPUS: SHADOW OF SAINT NICHOLAS by Michael Dougherty

 

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This graphic novel is meant to pave the way for the new movie, Krampus, by director Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat (which was fantastically fun). There are no spoilers in this book because it thankfully isn’t a straight novelization of the film. I’m seeing the movie this weekend after the RVA Krampusnacht. Afterwards I may do a writeup with comparisons between the two.

 

The book follows a similar format to Trick ‘r Treat with an anthology-styled story that ties together in the end. Using this method served as the saving grace for the graphic novel because none of the stories had enough strength to stand alone. I wish they’d embellished the individual stories enough to double the length of the full book. Each one could have used a bit more girth to form attachment with characters and to really enjoy the devilish shenanigans.

 

My favorite portion is with the drunken, Vietnam-vet mall Santa. This was the most likeable character so it was fun to watch his character arc take as many turns as it did in such a short period. The other stories aren’t bad, but they certainly didn’t ‘wow’. Overall the artwork is quite appropriate for the style. There was a nice balance between detail and whimsy to drive the pages.

 

In the end the book finds a healthy medium in between horror and holiday fun. Although it is still a few steps above kid-friendly, I was pleased that it didn’t embrace the horror side enough to be in bad taste. It’s a decent enough book that is an enjoyable, quick read.

 

My rating of KRAMPUS: SHADOW OF SAINT NICHOLAS by Michael Dougherty is 6.5 out of 10.

 

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Now please enjoy the best appearance of Krampus EVER from American Dad’s Minstrel Krampus episode.

 

Jessica Jones – SPOILER FREE Season 1 Review

No matter where your comic book loyalties lie (DC FAN FOR LIFE), you have to hand it to Marvel. Marvel has taken a specific formula for entertainment and shattered every imaginable expectation. That’s not to say DC doesn’t have the right things going for them – Arrow and Flash are a blast while Supergirl is finding her footing and Legends of Tomorrow looks awesome. However, DC had a solid year of a successful broadcast television series before Marvel released Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which has gotten very good over the last two seasons).

 

The scales tipped towards Marvel earlier this year when we learned that the coupling of Marvel and Netflix results in some beautiful babies. Netflix is the only outlet, other than picky premium channels, that can allow a more ‘adult’ comic book property to blossom with all of its child-unfriendly glory. Daredevil proved this and, in my humble opinion, was near perfect. The best comic adaptation produced thus far is without question Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. If TDK is a 10 on that scale, Daredevil easily ranks a 9. I cannot wait to check out season 2 with the inclusion of Punisher.

 

‘The Man Without Fear’ set the bar very high; it was hard to imagine another series with a B-list character coming even close to that mark. Such a reputation could easily be detrimental to properties in its wake. In the case of Ms. Jones I think this actually worked in her favor because people were willing to watch purely as a result of Daredevil’s reputation. I knew nothing of Jessica Jones prior to watching this. At face value it certainly lacks the allure of a superpowered man in red with horns. I’m so happy that didn’t stop me from watching.

 

Jessica Jones – Netflix Season 1

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I called this a ‘spoiler free’ review and I will stick to that. It’s difficult to comment without referencing certain scenes so you’ll have to forgive any vague generalizations.

 

The story once again takes place in post-Avengers New York. There is almost a sense of resentment in the general public towards people with abilities because of the massive damage done during the Kree invasion. Marvel’s inclusion of this aftermath in multiple properties has made for a more realistic, enormously-scaled, cinematic world. I’m glad they’ve realized it doesn’t take a guest starring role from an Avenger to tie everything in. Seeing someone react to Jessica with a comment of “you’re one of them, aren’t you?”, or even with an unspoken shocked/frightened reaction to a display of powers, can be more impactful than Robert Downey Jr. waltzing on screen.

 

Speaking of powers, Jessica’s are impressive enough to set her well above the average person but don’t spare her from danger. This was a nice balance because it was believable for her to be in danger while facing certain foes. She’s also sarcastic as hell – a quality I respect in any character. Her actions were believable in the way she deals with her abilities and the rest of the world.

 

Casting in this series is flawless. Krysten Ritter made the part her own and stuck to it. She has earned her place in the Marvel Universe – can’t wait to see her return! All of the supporting cast also did a fine job in bringing something to the party. My favorite, by far, is David Tennant’s portrayal of the big bad guy – Kilgrave. He could go from down right charming to despicably evil in one breath. Mind control is a tough concept to show because it walks a line between silly and believability. Tennant took that line and masterfully traced his own path. His effortless commands came so fluidly that it was chilling. One moment you want to give him a hug while the next you are cringing at the execution of his orders.

 

Was Jessica Jones as good as Daredevil? No, and I mean that in the best way possible because it never tries to be Daredevil. Don’t go into it expecting the same experience. This series set its own path as a dark, mature crime noir drama with a kickass superhero flair. The combination works wonderfully! Add Jessica Jones to the top of your queue – it is well worth your time.

 

My rating of Jessica Jones Season 1 is 8 out of 10.

8 out of 10

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