Michael Dougherty, writer/director of Trick ‘r Treat, is back with another wicked holiday tale. This time, instead of giving us multiple intertwined story lines about Halloween, Dougherty tells a seriously f#$%ed-up Christmas story. The German folklore character Krampus is the total opposite of Santa Clause: an evil being who punishes children at holiday time. Sounds pretty fun, right?
This film opens with a Black Friday montage that seems a bit overboard — until you watch a couple of YouTube videos of Walmart on November 25th and realize that we as a society are way overdue for our own Krampus visit. After this, we meet a dysfunctional family who has lost all of their Christmas spirit, except for the young son Max. When the in-laws show up for their annual Christmas weekend visit, even he loses all hope of a happy holiday. Unbeknownst to him, this invites the Krampus into his home, causing a series of events that will make this an unforgettable Christmas. Cue the blizzard and power outage.
What follows is a slow burn of a horror film that reminds me of Alien in several ways. Michael Dougherty knows that it’s better to create tension by not showing too much of the monster. This will likely frustrate the casual viewer, and others may tune out during the budget-saving animated sequence explaining Krampus’ origins. But stick this one out, and you will be treated to a great holiday black comedy that plays out like a lost Xmas-themed Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
I kept getting vibes of early Spielberg throughout this film, and I think Michael Dougherty may very well be his second coming. Seriously, watch Poltergeist, then watch this, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Krampus has some truly imaginative creature designs, and the slow lead-up is totally worth it when we finally get to see Krampus himself. I can’t recommend this film enough to Christmas horror fans. Casual movie-goers may want to rent 2006’s Black Christmas or the recently released A Christmas Horror Story instead.
Moan4Stallone loves Christmas and horror, so this movie was practically made for him. Let him know on Twitter.