DVD review: Krampus

Ancient European folklore warns of Krampus, a horned beast who punishes naughty children at Christmastime.
Ancient European folklore warns of Krampus, a horned beast who punishes naughty children at Christmastime.
0
Have your say

We’re a long way from the holiday season now, and if you’re missing that special Christmas feeling then this week’s DVD release could give you a shot of the festive spirit. We’re looking at the holiday comedy-horror movie Krampus.

The film kicks off with a pretty familiar scene as a dysfunctional family come together for the festive period.

In the middle of it all is young Max who quickly becomes disillusioned with the celebrations. It’s a development which has devastating effects.

By rejecting the spirit of Christmas Max unleashes the malevolent force of Krampus, an ancient evil bent on punishing non-believers. He’s a sort of psychotic Santa complete with horns, bad teeth and a gang of violent helpers.

After an intense snowstorm leaves the family stranded and without power it isn’t long until they are under siege in their own home. Monstrous creatures begin to attack and the family are forced to fight for each other to survive.

While the cast all give solid performances it’s the demonic Krampus and his team which remain the most memorable characters. From a child-eating clown to vicious gingerbread men, they’re a pretty unusual bunch and they don’t pull any punches.

Krampus is a 15 film for good reason and although the violence often sits uneasily with the lighter elements of the movie, the scares are handled well. The suspense builds and then releases in several well-crafted set-pieces.

There’s no doubt that this is a comedy-horror with an accent on the chilling as the family are picked apart by the demonic Krampus and his terrifying team.

By the end there is a 
return to the festive warmth more commonly found in Christmas movies but the film retains an eerie edge.

Director Michael Dougherty treads a fine-line between scary and silly in this throwback to classic frighteners like Gremlins.

While it’s not as good as that hit, Krampus is still enjoyable enough to leave an impression.