By Graham "GSM" Matthews
All right, I'll admit it: I had zero intention of seeing Krampus when my roommate suggested we go see it. He told me about the legend of Krampus late last year (and how bizarre it was), but it wasn't until just recently that he brought it up to me that it was being made into a movie and how we needed to see it. By and large, I'm not a fan of horror movies, which is exactly what I thought this was. Thus, I hesitant to go see it at first.
However, there were a few reasons why I ultimately decided to check it out. Firstly, it was a chance to go to the movies, and while I'm not one to waste money, the tickets were relatively cheap and I'm a sucker for an enjoyable experience at the movie theater (hence why I work at one!). Secondly, it was Christmas-themed, so it was timely with one of my favorite holidays right around the corner. All things considered, I figured it was worth giving it a shot, and I'm happy I did as it ended up exceeding my expectations.
Have you ever seen 2007's Trick 'r Treat? Basically, it's the same style of movie as this one (both directed by Michael Dougherty) where it's a lighthearted horror film with elements of entertainment mixed in. But instead of focusing on Halloween, it focuses on Christmas and the legend of Krampus, which is actually observed in some parts of the world believe it or not. For those unaware of the tradition, Krampus is a goat-demon (yes, you read that correctly) that will drag children to the underworld if they're naughty. It's the perfect premise for a movie, but what I particularly enjoyed about it was that it was nothing like anything I've seen before.
And I think that's the key word here: different. I couldn't tell you how many trailers for cheesy, garbage horror movies I had to sit through before Krampus came on. That's what I was expecting with this movie because there's just so much of it out there today. But Krampus is a twist on the traditional concept of Christmas because instead of everything being happy-happy joy-joy, there's a monster that's systemically knocking off every member of family who didn't believe in the real meaning of Christmas.
The actors weren't awful, either. Most movie goers will recognize Andy Scott from Step Brothers and David Koechner from, well, everything, but everyone else held their own fairly well. This also goes for Emjay Anthony as Max, who plays the innocent child whose sole wish is for everything to go back to the way it used to be on Christmas. Instead, he has to deal with a dysfunctional family that includes an older sister who couldn't care less, fighting parents, broke aunts and uncles, and bratty cousins. Only the grandmother seems to understand him, and she's the one who holds the secret to Krampus.
Based off that description, it sounds a lot like the first Home Alone, and in a way, it is very similar. I wouldn't go far as to say it's a rip-off because I don't remember any goat demons in that Christmas classic. It's funny because everything about the plot with the exception of the Krampus monster is realistic. In fact, the first scene of the movie features Christmas shoppers trampling over each other merely so they can get the best deals. That's the world we live in nowadays where people are paying too much attention to their devices and to work than they are their own family, the true spirit of Christmas. This movie captures that quite well.
To say the least, it's an interesting cast of characters, but because they're all guilty of doing something "naughty" at one point or another, you find yourself rooting for the Krampus monster to teach them a lesson. Yes, I'm well aware that sounds awful, but isn't that the case with most horror movies? Where the group of teenagers are doing something stupid and they're forced to pay for their sins? All Krampus is trying to do is force them to pay attention to what's important. What's so wrong about that?!
In all seriousness, I liked Krampus a lot more than I thought I would going into it. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say it was one of the most fun films I've seen all year, and trust me, I've seen my fair share. And if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be just that: fun. It barely clocks in at an hour and a half, so the time flies by, and you know you're in for something special when you see it. It's out of the ordinary in that it's Gremlins meets Home Alone and one of the few Christmas movies I've seen in recent years that didn't have be rolling my eyes by its conclusion. If you have yet to get into the Christmas spirit, this is the film for you.
Should you see this movie? Yes.