The best compliment I could possibly pay Krampus, is that it reminded of me of the Spielberg-produced horror comedies that were released in the 1980’s. Part Poltergeist, part Gremlins, this festive-fright perfectly marries both the naughty and the nice.
Opening with Bing Crosby’s version of It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, the usual cliched, seasonal imagery that would usually accompany it, is replaced with Christmas carnage. Instead of smiling, jumper-wearing families sat around a warmly lit dinner table, we get frantic shoppers arguing over televisions. Crackers and presents are switched with black eyes and fist fights.
It’s a sequence that acts as a sign of things to come, as the story centres around a family who come under attack from the horned, almost demonic spirit called Krampus, and his army of evil elves.
It starts off all very ‘Home Alone’, in that it brilliantly captures the chaos, awkwardness and general misery that comes when large families are thrown together at Christmas. Dealing with his mother and father not getting along, a fledging relationship with his sister and his cousins who are bullies, it’s once again the young boy of the family who is responsible for their fate.
Fed up of his family and being made fun of for still believing in Santa, the young David decides to tear up his Christmas list in rage and throw it out into the cold night sky. Little does he know that will summon the shadow of Saint Nicholas, and it isn’t long before all hell breaks loose.
A man-eating Jack-in-the-box, nailgun wielding gingerbread men and bat-dolls are just some of the horrific gifts that the family have to deal with in order to survive Krampus. All of this isn’t as much scary as it is ridiculous, with Krampus often straying into the realms of a real life cartoon, much in the same way Gremlins did.
It may not be scary, but it is a lot of fun. In fact, I struggle to think of many films which have proven quite as entertaining on a purely silly level, in 2015. It didn’t make jump once, but I laughed consistently from beginning to end, relishing in its black humour and bad attitude.
Krampus may not be anything to write home about, but it is an enjoyable romp that deserves to be seen on the big screen; ideally with as many people as possible. It’s a real crowd-pleaser of a movie, with likeable performances and a script which blends horror, comedy, darkness and warmth with expert precision.
It isn’t It’s A Wonderful Life – nor is it trying to be – but I can see Krampus only growing in stature over the years and becoming a firm annual favourite for a lot of people; myself included.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com