starring Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stephania LaVie Owen and Krista Sadler
written by Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty and Zac Shields
directed by Michael Dougherty
Christmas comedy horror based on the German (Bavarian) Christmas tradition of Krampus, a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as “half-goat, half-demon.” During the Christmas season Krampus punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts. Krampus is one of a number of Companions of Saint Nicholas in regions of Europe.
In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (English: Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most Alpine towns. Krampus is featured on holiday greeting cards called Krampuskarten.
I already knew about the Krampus tradition. I read it in a book on different holiday customs. But no one believes me when I try to describe it. Maybe they’ll believe me now.
Krampus features a Christmas family get-together at the Engel home. Mrs. Engel (Toni Collette) is a Christmas nerd who goes 150% into the Christmas decorating and cooking thing. Shortly before the holiday her sister’s obnoxious family arrives and puts a terrible strain on everything. Son Max (Emjay Anthony) is a fervent Santa Believer despite being well beyond the usual age for such things. As such, he is the object of bullying by other children, especially his cousins Stevie and Jordan, who tease Max so badly that he rips up his letter to Saint Nick, tosses the pieces out the window, and orally disavows Father Christmas. Such behavior draws the curse of the Krampus. Over the next couple of days leading up to Christmas Eve things get weirder and stranger. The entire family becomes trapped in the house by a freak blizzard, and once they are trapped like that Krampus and his evil Elves descend with punishment. Mr. Engel’s German mother, Omi (Krista Sadler), is on to witness the German pedigree of the custom and to explain it.
In the end the film was neither funny nor scary. I was hoping for a straight-up Christmas horror. It was a waste of money.