Krampus is a 2015 American Christmas comedy horror film based on the eponymous character from Austro-Bavarian folklore, directed by Michael Dougherty and written by Dougherty, Todd Casey, and Zach Shields. The film stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen, and Krista Stadler. It was released in the United States by Universal Pictures on December 4, 2015.
While the holiday season represents the most magical time of year, ancient European folklore warns of Krampus, a horned beast who punishes naughty children at Christmastime. When dysfunctional family squabbling causes young Max (Emjay Anthony) to lose his festive spirit, it unleashes the wrath of the fearsome demon. As Krampus lays siege to the Engel home, mom (Toni Collette), pop (Adam Scott), sister (Stefania LaVie Owen) and brother must band together to save one another from a monstrous fate.
- A perfect blend of moments that are scary, memorable and/or funny.
- The actors' performances are wonderful, mainly from Emjay Anthony.
- Nicely done character and story development.
- Krampus and his minions are all nightmarish antagonists and they are wickedly amazing.
- The idea of making a Christmas demon come after those that are naughty during December is pretty original.
- Brilliant and terrifying costume designs for Krampus and his minions.
- Likable and interesting characters, such as Max, his grandmother Omi and his aunt Dorothy.
- Grandma Omi’s backstory is very tragic with a Tim Burton-esque style to it.
- It mostly stays faithful to the legend.
- The tone (while doesn't fit) and atmosphere is wonderfully dark and eerie.
- Like Trick 'r Treat, Michael Dougherty has impressive direction on this movie.
- The music of Douglas Pipes is very creepy and well composed.
- The use of horror elements for Christmas movie is good.
- The 4K "Naughty Cut" of the film released in 2021 contains roughly 5 minutes of extra footage not included in the theatrical release of the film or the previous release. This footage attempts to soften the more abrasive relationships of the family with some genuinely touching and down to earth interactions.
- The dialogue, though well-performed by most of the characters, are pretty weak and feel more at home in a Happy Madison film.
- Missed opportunity: Despite the title, Krampus doesn't get enough screen time. The film relies on his toy minions more than him.
- The final twist ending of the movie is a bit generic relying on the "it was all a dream...or was it?" cliché where Max, and his family are somehow trapped in a snow globe.
- However, the director confirmed that Krampus is watching the family via snow globe, so this is justified.
- Some members of the family can be a little mean-spirited and unlikable where they are responsible for having Max to hate Christmas and unintentionally made a deal with Krampus.
- The pacing isn't that great.
Krampus received mixed-to-positive reviews with many critics praising Scott and Collette's performances, the horror elements, and humor while its tone, pacing, and final twist ending received criticism. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 66% based on 127 reviews with an average rating of 6.07/10. The website's critical consensus reads "Krampus is gory good fun for fans of non-traditional holiday horror with a fondness for Joe Dante's B-movie classics, even if it doesn't have quite the savage bite its concept calls for.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.
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