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The Bare Bones: When a young boy looses his Christmas cheer, an ancient spirit of Christmas shows up to terrorize his family.
To be fair, I am a sucker for any horror movie about old-school and pagan entities, so this was definitely up my alley. I find the concept of accidentally angering a dark entity of ancient times fascinating. Couple that with the face-palming frustrations of spending time with family, and you've got the seeds of something pretty good. I was fairly wary of this idea being a horror comedy, but unlike many of it's kind, Krampus is heavier on the horror than it is on the comedy, providing grounds for an entertaining ride.
I will freely admit that, for a long. long time, I hated Adam Scott. I do not know why. I do not have a reason. The closest I can come to an explanation is that I didn't like him in the film Leap Year, and that stuck with me. After this film, and Netflix's Little Evils, I can say that I'm fairly sure I was wrong. The touch of reality he brings into his films adds a snicker-worthy zing to the screen. The kids did well too, but I would really like to highlight Toni Colette in this one. I could feel her character's frustration. I mean, let's be honest, who among us has never gotten frustrated with awful family meetings? I know I have, and Colette did an amazing job portraying a frustrated, composed, and relatable character. All in all, I felt the film was well cast, and everyone in it did a good job.
Now, any of you who have read my stuff in the past will readily recall that my biggest problem with most horror movies, is that the monster always looks dumb. Because of this, I am a big proponent of "never show your monsters." Krampus, however, had the opposite issue: the creatures looked terrifying, but it was the lack of suspense that killed them. (I am not referring to the Gingerbread men.) I mean, Come on:
The humor in this film was... out of place. The filmmakers, I felt, catered towards trying to make it a comedy, too much for the actual amount of humor. They were like, "LOOK, Isn't this funny?" When they would have been vastly better served just making a pure horror film. That being said, I did like it. It wasn't laugh out loud funny, but kind of dark comedy.
All in all, it felt like the humor in this film only served to make the scary parts less scary, which I found tragic because Krampus had several opportunities to be really scary. Better they had focused on a single tone and succeeded, than try to aim for both and hit neither.
But it is entertaining.
For me, I can forgive any many of technical sins if I thought a film was entertaining, and Krampus was definitely that. In the world of Christmas horror films, that is an incredible accomplishment. It took a generally over done concept, and made it something new and Blockbuster worthy. There were so many things in this film that I enjoyed, it's just a tragedy that the one thing I didn't was so important. There was no real tone, no real atmosphere. And for me,that was the difference between this film being slightly better than average, and being amazing.