On December 4th Krampus unleashed himself onto cinematic audiences across the globe. The horror-comedy has been described as similar to Gremlins by some of its cast and crew and moviegoers. So far, the reception has been fairly positive. On RT it has 65 % and a 6.9 out of 10 on IMDB.com. Only one of the many popular critic sites gave it a low rating. Metacritic rated it 4.9 out of 10. Yet, in that range it's still considered to be average or mixed. Personally, I thought it was okay. There were parts of it that I loved and others I found to be dull. These are the six aspects of the film that I found to be the worst and best attributes of Krampus. Warning, this is all based on personal opinion.
7. Character Development
While these people aren't necessarily bad I thought they had little to no personality. They're mainly derived of stereotypes: the high strung mother, trashy aunt, self-involved teenager and low-class relatives. There are the exceptions of the grandmother and Krampus. The elderly woman's mysterious past and Krampus's trickster demeanor garnering appeal and interest. However, when something terrible happens to them, there's not much sympathy or concern from the viewers. This is because when a character's not fleshed out and we (the audience) can't resonate with the character's travails or celebrations. What saved these characters from being completely banal was the stellar performances from the actors who individually added a certain charm to their respective roles.
When I first saw the trailer and read the premise, Krampus sounded like an engaging, entertainingly bonafide horror that'd be reminiscent of past films from this genre. In many ways it was. However, I think one of the barriers from making it a classic was its story. I found it to be muddled and containing some scenes that didn't make any sense.
One of these was Krampus and his minions seemingly exterminating the family's neighbors even though they did nothing wrong.
However, while some viewers have slammed the ending, I think it's one of the movie's saving graces. It's a twist ending, and a good one at that. In the end it leaves the family's fate up to our own interpretation. It allowed us to draw in our own theories and speculations, which is refreshing. Some films don't do this nowadays and instead they just give us a straight conclusion.
My feelings about the holiday demon Krampus are mixed. On one side, I thought he was intimidating, malevolent and delightfully diabolical. When he's in a scene you could sense the weight of his size and his non-CGI presence made him appear more life-like. On the other, it was disappointing that his cronies had more screen time than he did. He also left behind a couple of his trademark elements: his bouquet of birch branches and personally dishing out punishment.
In the entire movie, he only did it once or twice. Most notably throwing Max into the Underworld.
It's usually more enjoyable to see the main baddie unleashing all the terror than their subordinates. While he's one of the most interesting characters in the film, I didn't think he was all that engaging. Again, his image was impressive. Yet, he mostly grunted and cackled. That's not much in the character department.
4. Action Packed
I expected this film to be scary and funny. Yet, I didn't expect it to be enthralling or (at times) adrenaline rushing. This enhanced the quality of the feature. The second half is nothing but action packed while the first half has a few, but memorable moments. Seeing the characters fight against and interact with the creatures indulged our imaginations and kept us on the edge of our seats. Even what's arguably the most silly scene in the film, were three homicidal gingerbread men shooting one of the relatives with a nail gun. For the most part, these sequences were orchestrated impeccably. They knew when to make us gasp and applaud.
One of the strongest components of this film was its acting. There's not one terrible performance among the cast. The cast was mostly derived of comedians: Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy) and Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men). Their natural comedic sensibilities blended splendidly with the film's dark humor. The children were also top notch. Particularly Emjay Anthony, who played Max, the boy who unintentionally summoned Krampus after losing his faith in Christmas. Krista Stadler was exceptional as well. Her presence as the obscure, foreign grandmother brought some nostalgia of past horror flicks.
2. Special Effects
Nowadays, it's common to see CGI dominate the special effects department in movies. However, Krampus is one of few films (most notable being Star Wars Epidsode VII: The Force Awakens) that's bringing back practical effects. It was estimated that 70% of its effects were p CGI has come a long way and it's far more convincing than it was back then. However, practical effects still reign in looking the most authentic. With a majority of the creatures and Krampus when they're on screen you can feel they're physically in the segment. That to me makes them look more creepy and intimidating.
1. Visual Style
Michael Dougherty has a penchant for creating unique and (when doing horror) hauntingly artistic scenery. I'd describe him in a similar vein to Tim Burton, but Dougherty has his own signature style. This was praised in one of his previous films, Trick R Treat, and Krampus is no different. During the Christmas scenes the background was swimming in festive decorations, vintage music and colorful arrays of warm colors. Then when disaster happened we're treated to nightmare-ish versions of beloved children's toys and baked goods, brooding ambiance and twisted symbols of Christmas.
While I don't think Krampus is anything special, I believe it's worth viewing at least once. There was good intentions behind it and the cast and crew put everything into pulling this off. It's obvious judging from the detail and effort put in that it wasn't intended to be a cash cow. The fact that it's an original and creative horror movie (something fans of the genre had been asking for) is a feat in itself. That's commendable.