There’s a very thin line between scary and funny. Sometimes that line is blurred in movies, and you’re not sure if you should be laughing or screeching. So it is that “Krampus” (2015) is a movie that blends the pair with a holiday twist.
Handled with deft and also tongue-in-cheek, some will argue that the film can not make up its mind of whether to be funny or scary, but to those astute in the genre, it doesn’t matter. After all, this is a film about a malevolent demon who takes people to the underworld on Christmas by springing deranged and psychotic toys on them. You can not take this seriously.
Max (Emjay Anthony), suffering a horrific Christmas with awful family members, accidentally summons the demonic Krampus to his town during the middle of a blizzard. Taking his family members right and left, Max, his father Tom (Adam Scott), his mother Sarah (Toni Collette) and his grandmother Omi (Krista Stadler), must all come to terms with the force hunting them and what they need to do to survive.
The backstory to the demon is handled rather sloppily, and the characters are pretty much stereotypes, but the film is aimed at just being fun. It handles it’s premise well, keeping the film grounded just enough in realism for the humor of the plot to shine through. And the film should be commended for keeping CGI effects to a minimum, relying mostly on animatronics and makeup to create its hand-crafted ghouls.
Reminiscent of a modern day “Gremlins”, “Krampus” should not be taken too seriously as it is really just a Sci-Fi original movie with a beefed up budget, but it respects its audience enough to give them a worthwhile jolt.