You Better Watch Out Krampus Is Coming
I’ll be the first to admit that when the trailer for the 2015 version of Krampus was released I was in the majority calling it shit and the worst horror movie for the year. But boy, oh boi was I wrong. Be warned there will be SPOILERS I can’t keep the good parts hidden I’m just too excited to talk about it.
Universal should pay me to promote this film, I’ve been forcing it upon others to watch; my house m8s, friends, family, I would make my cat watch, if she wasn’t a fucking idiot and didn’t understand TVs.
The overall film is an 80’s Christmas/horror-ish/ fantasy/cult film but in 2015, like Gremlins, Dark Crystal or Labyrinth. This is partially due to the use of practical effects and puppets and not relying on CGI. The only CGI in it was used because you really couldn’t of done it with practical effects and when it was CGI you didn’t even notice not because the CGI was amazing but because it fit the moment and film so well.
The other reason it felt like an 80’s movie (my favourite kind of movie) was the story itself. The conventional family at Christmas inviting the other half of the family over for Christmas who they don’t really like. The little brother and big sister not getting along, all the cousins teasing each other and the parents just straight up hate each other. I’ll admit the beginning is slow and did make me think it was just another bad horror trying to utilise the holiday to make money but soon things change.
The little boy rips his letter to Santa up after being teased by his cousins and doesn’t believe in Santa or love anymore this is the trigger to what is to come. A blizzard comes, an extreme one, thick snow, fast winds and bitterly cold which is the perfect place to have a horror film, you can’t see clearly, can’t hear a lot and can’t run fast in the deep snow. Even though you’re outside you’re trapped and how it was shot made it feel very claustrophobic. Any way the young girl goes out to see if her stoner boyfriend is ok (of course she does *eye roll*) and that’s when we’re introduced to Krampus and find other houses have been hit by Krampus. She’s the first to die, I didn’t see that coming, it really surprised me because I thought it was going to be the conventional brother and sister learn to love each other again because they nearly die together but she gone did die before they could love each other again. All the deaths a creative none are gory or bloody which would of made it comical (in a bad way) and lower the creepiness. For example she dies under a van when a jack-in-the-box pops out of the box but don’t see the full creature that comes.
There’s then some stuff with the two dad’s being macho and going to save his daughter and see what’s happening. There’s some nice commentary about being a man in America and gun control. Basically they find other people’s homes are fucked and the gun totting uncle’s massive obnoxious hummer is destroyed by Krampus. No escape.
They make it back to the house and barricade the house and go to sleep. One of the cousins (the fat stereotype) sees a gingerbread man that happens to be on a line of bells in the fire place, he eats the biscuit but it comes to life. This is where CGI comes in to make the most adorably evil minion of Krampus. The line of bells wraps round generic fat boy and takes him up the chimney but not with out his aunt (Toni Collette) trying to save. This is the moment I started to love this film.
The Austrian Grandma (Krampus comes from Austria/Germany) realises it’s Krampus from one of the bells that fell off that she saw as a child. She tells them the story of Krampus but how this story is told is so fucking cool. It turns into a stop motion/ puppet like animation reminiscent of old shadow/cut out puppet theatre from Europe. It really felt original and important to the story. The animation is about how the Grandma’s village in Austria gave up hope and joy at Christmas and with each other (similar to the family now) and was destroyed, everyone Murdered by Krampus even her parents. The only reason he left the Grandma was so she could always remember it as her own torture. Her as a child is the only character with a face and 3D body where the rest is 2D shadow fingers making look very german impressionist and old Hollywood horror films like Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.
They don’t really believe the Grandma (idiots) and go about saving Christmas. The aunt goes to the attic to re-wrap Christmas presents that were ruined in the fire from the whole chimney situation. But some of the gifts aren’t from them but Krampus. The two cousins who teased the little boy before start opening those presents and the next scene is just pure 80s magic. The toys are evil; there’s a killer teddy bear, a creepy angel china doll with a long tongue that tries eating them and a killer clown jack-in-the-box that eats one of the girls but is in the tube that connects the box and the clown. There’s a cool fight scene where the aunt becomes badass trying to save her children but the creatures gets into the vents. Meanwhile tough-gun-guy has been fitting gingerbread men in the Kitchen where the dog saves the day and eats them (yes there’s a dog, I know i’m upset too).
They re-group in the living room where the Grandma has been making sure the fire is still going so Krampus can’t come down it. The killer toys come out of the vents after killing the dog (of course), they manage to kill the bear and angel and things start to look up because of Aunt Dorothy who no one likes but brings great humour to the film and is probably my favourite character. We’ve seen outside where some weird minions of Krampus have been making snowmen of all their victims now, these minions come crashing in the front window and taking the cousin in the jack-in-the-box, Aunt Dorothy and the tough-gun-guy too. The rest of them are surrounded by these minions. The minions look really cool, this really reminds me of Labyrinth and the goblins doing Jared’s dirty work for him. All that’s left now is, the main family’s Mum, Dad and son, the Gandma and the Aunt and one girl cousin.
These a sudden thump on the roof and all the minions get scared and run out of the broken window, the last one stops, turns and just points at the family before leaving. This cracked me up. They built tension with Krampus well with good horror music and never seeing him properly just shadows, silhouettes and noises of him in the first half. They decide this is their only chance of escape so take it. They have one gun with limited ammo and know there’s a salt lorry abandoned a little run outside. The Grandma locks herself in the house to try and stall Krampus who comes down the chimney as the fire goes out. This is the first time we see Krampus and it’s good. He has fawn hooves and hairy legs, giant ram like horns and massive body hidden by a coat. His face makes him incredibly creepy, he wears a pale mask so his features look fake and all you can actually see of him is his intense eyes and long tongue. The practical effects where done by Weta Workshop (Lord of The Rings) and you can so tell, there beyond glorious.
The rest of them are out in the blizzard the Dad (Adam Scott) tells the others to run and he will hold Krampus up with the gun. He gone dies. They reach the lorry but the minions are every where and Krampus is near. The two mums (sisters) help the kids into the lorry but they themselves get taken. The minions then break into the lorry and get the girl only leaving the little boy.
This was all surprising about how many die/taken, but now it’s even better. The litter boy goes to Krampus but Krampus does exactly what he does to the Grandma and leaves him on his own. This is where I thought it ended, oh how foolish I was. The little boy finds Krampus and all his minions doing a human sacrifice around a fire and tells Krampus to take him instead of his family. A fiery pit opens in the ground to the underworld. At this point I though the little boy was going to push Krampus into the fire but no Krampus throws the family and boy into it.
It cuts to Christmas morning where everyone is alive and having the best Christmas ever. This is when I started screaming at the TV I though it was going to be “and it was all a dream” as we see the little boy wake up. I was furious that, that could of been the end, something so unoriginal and boring now after this great film. But no oh no, that’s not where it ends. The little boy opens a present to find a bell from Krampus and all the family start looking confused and start remembering everything that’s just happened. The camera pulls out to reveal they are in a fucking SNOW GLOBE the camera keeps tracking back to show Krampus with thousands of snow globes with other people in them. THAT’S WHERE IT ENDS!
I’ve read some theories about the ending; the first is that they are trapped in the snow globe to re-live Christmas morning every day forever OR that Krampus uses it to watch them live their lives and see if they have learnt their lesson and are hopeful and loving again and the bell is to remind them that he’s still watching and could come at any moment. I love both of these ideas their both so hauntingly creepy.
The ending really reminds me of Labyrinth with Jared and the minions home and Jared watching through his crystal balls.
The film was funny but so creepy and terrifying at the same time, I generally had a nightmare about Krampus. It’s also Christmassy not just because of the setting but has the heart of a Christmas film, making you think of others and how you treat them.
The acting in this film really made this film go from average to incredible, all the actors are well known comedy actors who were funny at parts but they were so serious in their acting you believed the situation. The whole film was 100% serious but with some laughs in it. When horror films take themselves too seriously it can be boring and comical for all the wrong reasons. For example the Nightmare on Elm Street remake was ridiculous because it was way too serious where was the original, which felt more like Krampus, where was the original was serious but had morbid humour making it more captivating.
I do have some criticism but they’re only minor; the Grandma speaks Austrian to her son and grandson as they’re the only ones who know Austrian, that’s fine but at the beginning they use subtitles so we know what she’s saying then halfway through they just repeat what she says in English making it seem long and explainational for the audience. I understand that the rest of the family needed to know what she was saying but it was just don in a long way.
The only other thing was the snowmen outside of the victims should been utilised more. They could of been really creepy if they moved when people weren’t looking or were made more obvious.
But that’s it, overall it was a creative, 80s horror/fantasy but with a modern twist. I highly recommend you go and see it, for the visuals that I can’t justify in just my description. 11/10. Don’t trust the trailer to a film. You’ll either love or hate this film be prepared.
Krampus Is One Hell Of A Christmas Present. Lucy.