Saturday, December 10, 2016

25 Days of Christmas: KRAMPUS

Welcome to Day 10 of our 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS series, where we will be taking a look at holiday classics each day in the lead up to Christmas. Today, I'll be reviewing the 2015 horror/comedy, KRAMPUS.


Every Christmas season there are certain movies that each person has on their "must watch" list.  For me that includes Die Hard, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Santa Clause, amongst others.  But, after watching last year's holiday horror film, Krampus, it looks like I'll be adding a new one to the list.

Krampus tells the story of a dysfunctional family who gathers in the days leading up to Christmas.  Their dysfunction, however, draws the attention of an ancient spirit known as Krampus, an evil half-goat, half-demon who, according to folklore, punishes misbehaved children.  In this, the young Max inadvertently brings this being to their doorstep after angrily ripping up his letter to Santa when family tensions boil over.  This leads to a night of survival that will change this family forever.

The film starts out with a very chaotic scene accompanied by lighthearted Christmas music, which is a perfect way to set the tone, showing us that this film will be crazy, fun, and not your normal Christmas movie.  It felt like a horror version of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with a little bit of Sam Raimi mixed in.  I have to wonder if the director, Michael Dougherty, was a fan of films like Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, or Drag Me To Hell, as Krampus embodied that classic Raimi-style of horror/comedy.

This black comedy/horror takes a quick turn in the first act with a pretty great first "kill".  With most horror films, the first kill goes one of two ways -- either it's quick and inconsequential or, like this one, it's important, epic, and unexpected, which is a much appreciated and ballsy move for a horror film, and one I prefer.

Once the chaos ensues is when the story gets really good.  The family is terrorized by several of Krampus' minions including living gingerbread men, evil toy creatures, and even elves.  The gingerbread men took me by surprise at first.  Not the fact that they were there, but just how they looked and acted, but you soon realize that they fit perfectly into this insane world.  And then there was the "evil misfit toys" as I called them.  All I could think about when they first appeared was that they were from a live action Toy Story from hell, like the f***ed up toys in Sid's room in the first Toy Story film...but worse.

One of the things I particularly loved about this film was the use of practical effects for most of the creatures.  From the evil toys, to the elves, and even Krampus himself, it was refreshing not to see just a ton of CGI, but instead a nice combination of the two.  I also loved the cool little animated story in the middle of the film.  This was used to tell Max's grandmother Omi's story about her experience with Krampus.  This part on its own would make for a great little short animated film.  It was so well done and added something special to this movie.

But not only was this a weird and wild film, it also had a great cast to pull it all together.  One of the weirdest things about the cast though was seeing Adam Scott NOT play the obnoxious jerk for a change. That role was reserved for the very funny David Koechner, who plays Howard, the brother-in-law of Scott's character, Tom.  I also loved the character Omi, who, in a cool twist, spoke only German for the majority of the film, something you don't see often.

And then there's the ending.  I've seen several articles about how people were confused or didn't like the ending to Krampus, but I loved it.  There is a great reason you never see anyone actually die in the film, which I kind of figured.  However, what I thought was going on was just the tip of the iceberg of what was actually happening.  The ending is exactly what it looks like, there's no need to over analyze it, as many have.  The family was taken, not killed, and will live out their days trapped in one of Krampus' snow globes as punishment.  It wasn't a dream, it wasn't ambiguous.  It's a supernatural story with a supernatural ending.  Plain and simple.  And I absolutely loved it.

You need to know going into this that it's definitely a weird flick, but if that's the sort of thing you're into, then I would highly recommend it.  And remember, always keep the fire hot!

The Merc's Score: 9/10

Be sure to stay tuned throughout the rest of the month! We're posting a new Christmas review every day, both old and new! Check back to see what movie we'll have you singing carols next!

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment