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PopCultHQ Movie Review: “Krampus”

by Manny Popoca
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I went into Krampus hoping I wouldn’t get anything more than a Christmas time version of that other semi-famous holiday debacle the Leprechaun. Remember that “horror” movie of old staring Jennifer Aniston? Hoping Krampus wouldn’t be a bunch of cheesy little-people running around in masks and costumes spewing out horrible dialogue, I went in as always having an open mind to everything I review. While this PG-13 “horror” movie Krampus was beginning to make a believer out of me, in the end, ultimately MY worst fears about this film came to fruition.


Krampus directed by Michael Dougherty actually begins with a brilliant intro. Accurately depicting the horror that has become the new American tradition for many, the escaped known as Black Friday. While a classic Christmas song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” blared loudly over the theater speakers, singing of the joys and Yule time holly. We are simultaneously impacted by the visuals of that moment when the department store doors are opening to the crazy-eyed, greed mongers, ripping each other apart for a cheap appliance. Grown ups snatching items right out from kids hands, to the fist fights and arguments. It all look precisely like the viral videos we have watched just days ago of this years Black Friday madness. This part was hilarious to me but at the same time, this realization of art imitating life, it had to be the most frightening thing I experienced from the entire Krampus the movie.

Right away you can tell this is going to be a comedy, but at the same time full of family Christmas overtones. Krampus seemed to take forever developing character introductions for our main cast, Max’s family and the extended family who come crashing the party and adding more bodies to the coming death fest. Obviously trying to get the audience to care deeply for everyone in the family, the fun didn’t begin till the relatives come rolling into town. The acting was good, the comedy was also decent, Adam ScottToni ColletteDavid Koechner and Allison Tolman are all great actors. Krampus was almost becoming a really good Christmas themed horror movie. Setup was feeling very National Lampoons like and the production value was top-notch.


The story of Krampus the movie goes like this. Max the youngest son of the family is disenchanted with how his Christmas is going. In giving up on his hope of the spirit of the season, that is the open invitation Krampus needs to come and wrap up Max and his family in his chains to drag them all to the deepest depth of Hell. In the craziest blizzard ever seen, the family members are stuck with each other in a house with no power and communication to he outside world.

A surprisingly great first half of the movie with atmosphere, having that ominous feeling of fear creeping beginning to set in. Everything was going great, as the Krampus was putting the scare in me while jumping from roof top to roof top as he chased down a really frightened victim. The sound was perfect, the first attack on his victim was well done the movie was doing so well, that is until it all went to shit.

This fucking clown ruined the movie for me


Krampus takes a wrong turn from holiday comedic horror movie into a complete joke of itself. When Krampus little helpers come into the picture everything just goes downhill from here on out. A flying killer angel doll? A teddy bear with teeth? Effects so cheesy as frightened characters are acting like they are trying to remove a non-animated prop off an actor. Then we get to the Krampus elves! Here we finally get to the little-people wearing costumes I was very much dreading. The Leprechaun moment. The killer clown from the picture above, was a joke. Steal the vampire mouth from the Blade movies and this clown head also has a body-type of a full-body sized caterpillar, just a horrible character that could have been somewhat epic. We go from high production content to a really bad Christmas time haunted house with cheap horror moments, dialogue and even the production also takes a nose-dive here on out. When we finally get the grand Krampus face reveal, I was sorely disappointed in the makeup effects. The few times you get to see his face in closeups, Krampus is nothing like the movie poster of blood drooling teeth. Just a simple plastic face mask with a few goofy looking buck teeth that were slightly rearranged each screen shot to show facial expressions. I haven’t seen makeup effects this bad since the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movies. The clown from American Horror Story: Freak Show was more frightening than Krampus or any of his evil henchmen were.

This is when Krampus doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. Does it want to be a horror, a comedy, a family holiday classic, a gore-fest, a storytellers tale or at one paint even an Evil Dead copycat with killer little CGI creature……..gingerbread men cookies. This is how they spent their CGI money.

Final Review: 2 out of 5 stars

Krampus is a holiday comedy and a soft-core horror in the end.

It reminds me of failed National Lampoons Christmas clone, a failed Puppet Master horror, a cheap attempt at Gremlins like humor, with a ridicules ending, that thankfully wasn’t predictable or had a huge plot twist but still unsettling. But by the end Krampus had me yawning and just wanting for this movie to end already.

No one in the theater was laughing hysterically, there was no gore, not even a single fantastic horror movie killing. None of the girls in the audience were screaming like the intro trailer for The Boy horror movie had them doing. Krampus did have a fantastic first half of a movie but somehow got completely lost with trying to be too many movies in one. If Krampus would have been a creepy and gory horror with at least some memorable death scenes and less cheesy sappy moments that stalled the pace too much, then we would have had a great move here. In the end it turns out to be a huge laggy disappointment.

Not worth the movie ticket, not a DVD buy, maybe a renter. There is a comic book version of Krampus that is much better then the movie. I would recommend that instead.

Krampus official trailer:

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