Horrortoberfest ’21 Day 23 – Krampus (2015)

Since this movie has come out, there have been a ton of various Krampus themed horror movies trying to get in on the fact that the internet has let us find out some of the weirder holiday stuff from around the world. Some have tried to make it into a serious, R-rated gore fest but this one opts to lean into the absurdity of it all and go with a PG-13 comedy/horror tone. Also, yes, it is still boogeyman week since Krampus ticks all the boxes I laid out for what counts as a boogeyman.

Max is a young boy that absolutely loves Christmas and tries to keep the spirit of the season alive even while everything around him tries to ruin it. His dad is working, his mom cares more about decorations than celebrations, his sister just wants to be with her boyfriend, and his extended family can’t seem to stop bickering and complaining about everything. When his cousin makes fun of his letter to Santa, that’s the last straw and he rips up the letter, scattering it into the wind. However, it seems like he was the last one keeping the Christmas spirit alive because now a blizzard has rolled in and with it, that goaty old monster himself, the Krampus.

There are a ton of recognizable actors in this movie that all do a great job of keeping the movie afloat. When you’re trying to be a comedy, a horror, and a holiday lesson movie all at once; things can get a little strained. Much of the start of the film’s horror leans into the (Santa) claustrophobic nature of being trapped in your house with no way to call for help while something is terrorizing the neighborhood. It then drops that towards the start of the third act and goes full Gremlins, with tiny ridiculous monsters attacking fairly ineffectually. We actually get very little Krampus in his own movie and much more CGI gingerbread men and angry teddy bears. Most of the horror doesn’t particularly hit either because of the goofy nature of the attackers or the PG-13 rating making it so none of the scenes feel particularly threatening.

Sadly, it’s not just the horror that gets constrained by the way that the film is made. The comedy in the movie is barely there with most of the “funny” scenes being family members being assholes to each other and the rest of relying on the absurdity of the toy monsters. It honestly ends up feeling like someone made an entire feature length film out of the small bit from Nightmare Before Christmas where all the Halloween tainted toys terrorize the children they were sent to. While the movie has the budget and acting pedigree to be entirely watchable; the film doesn’t go far enough with the premise to make a movie about an evil Christmas demon memorable.

I could see this being much better as a film to watch at Christmas time, if only to break up the monotony of the standard “learn the true meaning of Christmas” films that glut the season. Outside of the novelty, though, it’s not a great pick for a horror movie night.

Score: 3 out of 5

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