Michael Dougherty's Krampus is a pleasantly surprising horror comedy that is very much in the same vein as iconic films of the 1980s such as Gremlins, due to its ability to balance both its horror and comedy elements to great effect. A horror film centered around the Christmas holiday, Krampus brings a gleefully cynical perspective to the season of giving, focusing on the selfishness and individualism of its characters, who have essentially forgotten the whole purpose of the holiday. Featuring a memorable opening sequence in which the film skewers the consumerist culture that has come to define Christmas, Krampus beautifully sets the stage for its antagonist, an evil spirit who punishes those individuals who themselves have lost hope in the Holidays, those who simply have forgotten to be thankful for what they have. Centered around a dysfunctional family, Krampus' narrative is set in motion when Max, the youngest child of the household, turns his back on Christmas, turning cynical towards the purpose of the holiday after things don't go his way both at school and at home. This lack of festive spirit unleashes the spirit of Krampus on Max and his family, who are forced to bunker themselves up in their home as they attempt to survive the night. Michael Doughterty's Krampus is a fun and inventive horror comedy which takes many of the beloved holiday icons of Christmas and turns them sinister, providing a sometimes scary, often memorable experience. Krampus features far more "world-building" than I expected, featuring a host of fun monstrosities and creative Christmas' themed atmosphere that shows off the filmmakers ingenuity, while relying on practical effects more so than not to create its horrific environment. The film's tone is playful and self-aware, understanding the inherent silliness in its storyline that features psychotic, killer gingerbread-men, managing to balance the line between self-awareness while never abandoning the overall sense of danger and horror facing its characters. From Max's loud and obnoxious in-laws who feel like exaggerated caricatures, to the film's use of cartoonish sound cues, Krampus is more fun than scary, though I'd still argue the horror itself is effective, thanks largely to the filmmaker's creative mindset. From a pure horror standpoint, Michael Dougherty's Krampus may disappoint some of its more horror-thirsty filmgoers but when considering the films overall intentions are more centered in comedy AND horror, Krampus is a worthy experience and memorable throwback to 80s Horror-Comedies which managed to blend the two so effectively.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.