Even though Krampus does have potential to be a new Christmas horror-comedy classic, it misses the mark a bit too much for us
On paper Krampus reads as the perfect horror-comedy for the Christmas holiday. It has the strange family with funny and weird family members, which is a huge nod to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation from 1989 (an absolute classic and I watch it every year) and sets the scene perfectly. It also has the little horror creatures, which sends your mind on a trip down Gremlins memory lane. Finally, there’s the real horror creature, which is the opposite of Santa Claus in the form of Krampus. While most of the movie has more comedy than horror, Krampus himself is hardcore horror in all its glory.
But the two things, the movie really has working in its favor, are the cast and the writer-director Michael Dougherty. He’s the man who brought us the Halloween anthology Trick ‘r Treat, which is a solid part of my Halloween tradition. Every year, on Halloween, you can be damn sure I’m watching that movie. Also on board as writers are Todd Casey, who usually works primarily with Marvel cartoon TV series, and finally, Zach Shields, who hasn’t written anything prior to Krampus, but did write a song for The Conjuring, so there’s certainly a strong horror link right there.
As far as the cast goes, you’ve got Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) as the parents and in a beautiful supporting role, is David Koechner, who was perfect in the horror-comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. With him on board, you’re guaranteed to get the laughs in, and when you add Conchata Ferrell (probably best now from her role on Two and a Half Men), you’ve got the comedy parts covered. However, part of the challenge for Krampus is hitting the balance of horror and comedy, and the horror part is a bit more faulty.
Look, maybe my expectations were just too high, when I watched this, because I love Trick ‘r Treat so much. And watching it in the middle of Spring probably didn’t help either. That’s why I’ll definitely be watching it again next Christmas, but as for now, it just fell short of really being a new classic for me. But again, maybe I just expected too much.
Krampus is out on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD now.
Director: Michael Dougherty
Writer: Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields
Cast: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Stefania LaVie Owen, Emjay Anthony, Conchata Ferrell
A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.