Young Max (Emjay Anthony) faces off against the Christmas demon Krampus.

Reel Reviews: Don’t let Krampus ruin your Christmas

Taylor and Howe say, “Krampus is almost ridiculous enough.”

  • Dec. 11, 2015 5:00 a.m.

A young boy is having an unhappy Christmas. Max (Emjay Anthony) wants only for his family to get along and be able to enjoy the holiday season. When he gives up and no longer believes in Christmas miracles, he accidentally summons Krampus, a demon who punishes non-believers.

An army of holiday icons, including evil gingerbread men, force Max’s dysfunctional family to work together just to survive Christmas Eve.

We say, “Krampus is almost ridiculous enough.”

TAYLOR: This one was silly from the get-go, but I had hoped it would be worth a giggle, I was let down.

At the beginning it was shaping up nicely. David Koechner shows up as Uncle so and so with his family, providing for a lot of victims.

All we needed now was some comedy.

When Krampus and his sack of baddies show up, the film becomes dark, quite like a regular horror film, in that no one is dropping hilarious quips while their children are missing or otherwise terrorized.

This is where I wanted things to go over the top and they didn’t. Soon Krampus’ gang becomes even scarier, then larger, more people become victims, the stakes are raised. Too real to be funny is a strange way to think about Krampus but it might fit.

HOWE: My eyes rolled when I watched the trailer for this, then I got thinking back to growing up in the ‘80s and the classic holiday comedy/horror movie Gremlins. Could Krampus be along those lines, in the way of fun and silliness? The answer is “somewhat.”

Watching the opening scenes and listening to the jingly happy cartoonish music, I thought “We may be on to an undetected winner here.” It’s after about the half-hour mark that things take a turn for the worse and I will go along with what Mr. Taylor said, it becomes quite dark and less jovial.

TAYLOR: Without the silliness that I thought was going to be there it simply becomes a horror movie at Christmas time, albeit one about a holiday figure. Krampus himself was a bit scary, but not the greatest looking movie creature of all time.

There’s a bit of silliness in that these characters are fighting gingerbread men, but things escalate and the threats get larger, louder and with bigger teeth. So fans of hilarious comedy and hardcore horror alike can be disappointed. It’s still not without it’s charms, somewhere in-between.

HOWE: The cast is strong – Toni Collette, Adam Scott and Koechner – but it’s Krampus’ gang that tries to steal the show: The ever growing Jack in the Box, the evil robot and the gingerbread men. I don’t think I will be able to eat them ever again.

It’s Krampus himself that seems to be the let down in the special effects market, it looked like someone in a fur coat wearing a silly, cheap Halloween mask.

– Howe gives Krampus 2.5 snowmen out of 5.

– Taylor gives it 2.5 rusty bells out of 5.

–Brian Taylor and Peter Howe review the latest films for The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.

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