Movie Review: Krampus

It was Christmas in June in my household as I finally got around to watching Krampus, the holiday horror movie directed by Michael Dougherty. And, much like his other horror hit Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus is a great mixture of scares and dark humor that is sure to attract more than the usually horror fans. Sure, a slew of other Krampus movies were released recently as well, but this is the one to see.

The movie begins with the typical American family at holiday time, rushing to get everything in order for the extended family to arrive, while dreading their arrival at the same time. The family is made up of father/husband Tom (Adam Scott), mother/wife Sarah (Toni Collette), kids Max (Emjay Anthony) and Beth (Stephania LaVie Owen), and Tom’s mother Omi (Krista Stadler). They soon joined by Sarah’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman), her husband Howard (David Koechner), their three children, a dog, and the despised Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell). And after everybody sits down to eat a nice dinner, filled with the usually holiday bickering, things begin to get crazy.

The next day, a delivery driver brings the family a package and a mysterious bag is by the door. Then, young Beth leaves to check on her boyfriend during a bad snowstorm and is told to be back in an hour. She gets to his house but notices that something large is on the roof. Then, the creature begins to jump on rooftops and she runs to hide. She sees the delivery truck and the driver is dead so she hides underneath it. The creature then circles around the truck and leaves. But a jack-in-the-box toy opens and she screams as the camera fades out.

We return to the house where Tom and Howard are about to leave to check for Beth. Omi does not want them to leave but they decide to go anyway. During their outing, Howard is attacked by something and it flees after Tom shoots a gun at it. They retreat back to the house and everyone starts to panic.

Soon, they are all under attack from the Krampus, a mythological creature that comes to the house of those undeserving of the joys of Santa Claus. This Christmas demon begins to terrorize the entire family one by one until they are all dead. The horror only stops when Max takes back his Christmas wish for all of his family to get along better than they had been. When he takes back his wish, the Christmas demon vanishes and Max wakes up to a perfectly normal Christmas morning. That is until he opens a gift and it is an ornament with the Krampus name on it.

Krampus is a very enjoyable horror film. It had plenty of scares and horror moments, but it also had great humor and dialogue with all of the characters. The cast was perfect and worked well together. Scott and Koechner are two of the best comedic actors today and did a great job mixing their comedic chops with a seriousness when needed. And Dougherty made another great holiday-themed horror film and I hope to see more from him. Maybe we can get a good Easter horror movie next?

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.