The gift that keeps on creeping…

Christmas is a time of festive cheer,

for singing loud for all to hear.

But what if good ol’ Saint Nick was nowhere near?

Instead Krampus came to fill you with terror and fear…

Max used to love Christmas. He used to love wrapping presents with his sister and parents whilst watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. He used to somewhat enjoy when his extended family of aunt, uncle and four cousins made their annual visit from December 22nd to just after Christmas. But every year it’s gotten worse. His parents are growing apart, his sister spends all her time with her boyfriend and his cousins use him as a play toy to amuse themselves. Only his paternal grandmother Omi can see how his Christmas spirit is fading. When his extended family arrive once more the four adults, and surprise guest Aunt Dorothy, clash over the dinner table whilst his cousins brutally tease him for still believing in, then writing a letter to, Santa Claus. It’s the final straw for Max. He rips up the letter in anger and throws it out of the window. That’s when the storm starts, a snow storm like no other. Under the cloak of the blizzard Krampus and his villainous cronies start to arrive…No-one is safe. 

What a pleasant surpise this film was! It’s far from perfect and the pacing of both the first and third act is slightly off, but overall this film is a superb antidote to the kind of movies that some of the little-known Sky channels have been showing since mid-September.  It’s properly funny, has some jump-worthy moments and holds your attention for most of the 98 minute running time.

The story itself is deceptively clever. Though the myth of Krampus is centuries old it feels incredibly immediate and relevant.  The film opens with a sequence that has become unsettling familiar in recent years – a supermarket opening it’s doors for pre-Christmas sales. The crowds rush in, rioting, pushing, shoving and shrieking in their quest for unnesscessay discounted purchases. The fact this is soundtracked with Perry Como’s ‘It’s being to look a lot like Christmas’ successfully exemplifies the increasing commercialism of Christmas. It sets a great tone for the upcoming penance that will have to be paid.

The characters who will soon endure Krampus’ house invasion are well pot rated.  They are the right amount of unlikeable, each given just enough reason to warrant the inevitable onslaught but redeemable enough that you start to care what happens to them. The film doesn’t treat the adults any differently from the children – they have been just as naughty as their parents so need to be punished. As a secondary school teacher I can’t actaully say that Max’s two tween female cousins deserve to be punished,  but I can say that I hope they learn from their mistakes.

Krampus’ and his squad, made up of evil-looking reindeer, scary elves, oh so creepy toys and hilariously horrific gingerbread men own this film. The portryal of the homicidal gingerbread men would be my standout favourite, their evilish giggles haunting the house and they haunt it’s residents.  In fact they did somewhat remind me of Christmas horror-comedy classic ‘Gremlins’ which would make an excellent double movie feature with ‘Krampus’.

If you’re looking to briefly escape the festive season , or see and Old Testament-style backlash against it, or you just want a movie for laughs and a few scares, then this is well worth a watch.


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