The holiday season is well and truly underway but who knows the story of Krampus, an ancient folklore that goes back many centuries throughout European cultures? Your about to get to know in this comedy horror that makes a thoroughly enjoyable difference to the normal cutesy made for TV Christmas tales.
This dark festive tale follows one Family, The Engels. The youngest member of the family Max (Emjay Anthony) is full of the Christmas spirit until the constant bullying from his schoolmates and cousins finally takes its toll on his spirit and he turns his back on everything he once loved about Christmas. Whilst everyone is asleep 3 days before Christmas everything changes and it would appear Max’s disillusionment has unleashed the fury of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient reckoning whose intention is to punish non-believers.
The opening of the film is real festive and has that 50’s black and white movie touch visually and musically. It lures you into a false sense of security, making you feel all warm and fluffy, but that sure doesn’t last too long. Catapulted straight back into reality and we witness the Engels, Sarah (Toni Collette), Tom (Adam Scott) dealing with the stress of preparing Christmas for the whole family and the arrival of Mum’s sister and her trailer trash and hateful family.
The tension and horror slowly build as Max’s sister goes missing when she decides to visit her boyfriend as the whole town seems to be experiencing a power cut, but she never returns home. This quickly sets alarm bells ringing as Tom and Howard (David Koechner), Max’s uncle start a search party for the missing girl. It soon becomes clear they are dealing with something extremely sinister. As the tale unravels, Omi (Max’s German grandmother) tells of her encounter with Krampus as a child. This leads nicely into an old fashioned cartoon sketch of grandma as a child, giving it that festive touch of yesteryear.
As the Engels family fight off what seem like cute talking Gingerbread men they rapidly turn into evil monsters. Those are the least of their problems when they also have to face demonic cherubs and killer teddy bears in order to save every member of the family. This is when the comedy starts to kick in lightening up the dark and ominous tale. The best lines coming from the majorly critical, booze guzzling and politically incorrect Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell), she tells it how it really is with no regard for anyone else’s feelings, but she also kicks some serious ass when she blows off the head of an attacking teddy bear.
As the family is picked off one after the other it’s left to Max to try and convince the Krampus to bring his family back, tying up the film quite nicely into what could have just been a dream sequence.
Krampus is a refreshing take on the normal festive movies we get bogged down with, it brings to life an almost forgotten tale of the darker side of festive folklore. Full of comedy and the right amount of scares this tale is a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
Krampus is out in cinema 4th December.