Mittwoch, 16. Dezember 2015

KRAMPUS - Movie Review

 Title: Krampus
Running Time: 98 min
Director: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Emjay Anthony, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrel, Stefania LaVie Owen, Krista Stadler

European culture is full of beautifully dark tales. From the "Struwwelpeter" (an 'educational' German children's book, where kids get their thumbs cut off and  are burned alive) to "Baba Yaga" (a deformed witch in slavic mythology), there seems to be a gruesome story for every occasion. So in a season where we are flooded with Christmas-themed romance movies, cheesy comedies and reruns of old family films, it is about time that one of these ancient legends gets a major motion picture to stirr things up a little.
With "Krampus" the creature from alpine folklore of the same name gets brought to life on the big screen. Seen as the counterpart of Saint Nicholas, the Krampus comes during Christmas season to punish those who misbehaved. Accordingly, the plot of this film is pretty straight-forward: During a big holiday get together, a little boy makes one wrong move and soon, the title-giving dread pays a visit to his house, haunting the whole family.
Now, such a premise might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you are abel to roll with it, "Krampus" is a special little something for the holidays! Blending together ingredients of the horror and comedy genre topped with a Christmas theme, this film is unconventional and yet satisfyingly fresh, like a rare foreign dish. The looks of this movie are certainly its strongest parts. Michael Dougherty makes some nice creative choices throughout the film like an animated flashback sequence that is enchantingly dark, similar to the 'The Tale of the Three Brothers'  from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1". Also, the creature design is more than impressive and Krampus' mischievous „little helpers“ gave the costume and effects department a chance to let lose. With mainly oldschool practical puppetry and only a hint of CGI to enhance it, the film gains a hell lot of grid, and even manages to put creepy clowns on to the next level. The big boss himself looks simply stunning, and has a far greater and menacing presence than any other visual incarnation of this mystical figure. While his minions are wild and unruly, his movements are the ones of true predator: Slow, calm, and only quick when the time is right. Paired with a beautiful score (well worthy of a monster movie) the film doesn't lack atmosphere at all. Especially when "Anti Saint Nicholas" and company are on screen.
On the other side is the human component of the film, which works quite well, but certainly has some room for improvement. The cast is doing a pretty good job: Child actor, Emjay Anthony, manages to helm the film suprisingy well, and Adam Scott shows once more that Hollywood shouldn't continue to overlook him for bigger parts. Krista Stadler's portrayal of Omi carries the film through its more dramatic moments and gives it an unexpected form of gravitas. However, most of the other characters, especially the annoying relatives, aren't really fleshed out. The movie fails to dig deeper into the few redeeming moments they have, leaving them as one-note characters you don't really care about, and thus hindering the viewer of getting more emotionally invested.
Furthermore, there are a few expectations that might have to be adjusted: Eventhough the film's title is Krampus, he is more like an "end-boss" of the movie, only fully engaging at the climax of the film. For the first hour, the dirty work is left to his tiny henchmen, and though they are a lot of fun to watch, you'll get less than you hoped for, if Krampus was the big pull for you. Additionally (and in contrast to what the trailer might suggest) the movie refrains from jump scares and splatter elements when presenting the horror. Technically, this speaks for its quality in filmmaking, but it will certainly disappoint people who were in for a bloodbath.
Overall however, "Krampus" is a hell lot of fun, once you can get into it. A movie that missed the chance of becoming a cult hit only by a little bit. If a sequel could smooth out its shortcomings, it could probably receive that status. On top of all that, the film earns another few plus points for actually conveying a nice message. "Love thy neighbor" might have been told a gazillion times during the holidays, but it has rarely been told so violently playful. Oh, and personally, I thought the ending was a perfect fit!

For Fans Of:
Gremlins (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
The Babadook (2014)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

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