The preparations for Christmas are well and truly underway everywhere you look and the cinema is no exception! With many festive themed films or at least films set in the season already out such as; ‘Carol’ and ‘Christmas with the Coopers’ movie goers are spoilt for choice at the minute! The most recent Christmas movie for me was ‘Krampus’ which looked like the perfect film for those who can’t stand a soppy seasonal message and instead want to see a family terrorized by a creature from Alpine folklore – I was sold!
For me ‘Krampus’ was like a flashback to the 80s classic ‘Gremlins’ which just happens to be one of my favourite Christmas movies. This film is very much the ‘Gremlins’ of this generation and I have a feeling this will be the Christmas movie of this year that will last longest in the memories of most even if it isn’t quite as good as the 80s alternative! There is something just so sinister and cruel about mashing up Christmas, the most caring and kind time of the year with such a mean genre, but I love this mismatch of tones. I don’t know that without the Christmas setting that it would stand up as a credible horror movie however the setting and premise are crucial to this story so this isn’t too much of an issue. It’s the kind of scary or creepy that is fun to watch, you don’t have to look away and you don’t mind jumping because you know that what’s coming is nothing that will scar you for life. I felt like ‘Krampus’ was a much more successful version of the ‘Poltergeist’ remake we saw earlier in the year. This was mainly through the creativity and time devoted to some of the creatures that the family come up against – they aren’t used as throw away jump scares but feature more than once giving them more of a sense of belonging to the story. There are some really nice scenes towards the start of the film too when we see Krampus first come to town , these moments are genuinely scary and the scene that follows is probably the most involved and tense of the entire film.
Unfortunately, the film does have its flaws too. The whole thing takes a little too long to get started and the humour that features in this build up never really lands with the audience, it isn’t awful but the potential for entertainment isn’t really met in this section. As a result of this much of the action takes place all at once and we often lose lots of characters at the same time meaning there is a lack of suspense in certain moments. I thought that this could have been improved through a greater creativity, variety and a higher level of violence when it came to the deaths and this could have also enhanced the shock value and even humour of the film as a whole. The characters are as to be expected from any horror films, there are the really likeable ones and then the ones you are routing for to get eaten/killed/captured! Adam Scott and Toni Collete are good as onscreen parents to the star of the show, little Max played by Emjay Anthony of ‘Chef’ fame. He plays his character very well making him easily the most popular character. Although ‘Krampus’ is predominately a horror film it still manages to convey a holiday message and depending on your view on Christmas this will be hit or miss but I thought it contributed well to the premise and makes for a good ending too.
‘Krampus’ is far from the perfect Christmas movie but it’s sure something a little more refreshing for cinema audiences in recent years. A little less build up and some more mayhem would have meant that this ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Poltergeist’ mash up could have really impressed. However what we do get is fun enough to merit a trip to the cinema and I have a feeling that this is one festive film that I will revisit for Christmases to come!
Rating – 7/10