FILM REVIEW - KRAMPUS
Directed by Michael Dougherty.
Starring Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner.
Krampus opens with a nice little montage of store security tasering a mob of feral Black Friday shoppers with Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” playing over the top. This gleefully dyspeptic attitude towards the festive season runs through writer/director Michael Dougherty’s home invasion monster movie like arsenic icing in a Christmas cake.
The ever so middle-class Engel family are steeling themselves for the annual redneck in-law invasion. The arrival of Howard (David Koechner), Linda (Allison Tolman) and their vulgar kids brings bickering and bullying, and these bad vibes are sufficient to summon the demon spirit of Krampus. With a supernatural blizzard outside, the Engels find themselves cut off from the outside world and under siege from anti-Santa and his little helpers.
Krampus never takes itself too seriously. With carnivorous Christmas cookies and an eight-foot hairy goat antagonist, it’s a film that is fully aware of its own absurdity. Dougherty has taken more than a little inspiration from Joe Dante’s classic, Gremlins, with black comedy and cartoon violence occasionally giving way to moments of surprising brutality.
The effects team utilise a commendable amount of puppetry and practical effects. Results are mixed (the Krampus creature itself is noticeably inanimate), but charming nevertheless and it’s a welcome antidote from endless CGI borefests. Of course Krampus is ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous fun.