Sunday, July 9, 2017

Now on HBO: Krampus (2015)

Krampus (2015) - Directed by Michael Dougherty; Written by Toddy Casey, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields; Starring Emjay Anthony, Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Stefania LaVie Owen, Allison Tolman, David Koechner.

By Kenny Howell

A young boy gets frustrated with Christmas because of his messed up family and unwittingly summons Krampus, the demon that punishes bad little boys and girls.

The legend of Krampus is real, and was celebrated in many Eastern European countries over the years. St. Nicholas handles the good girls and boys, and Krampus deals with the bad, mostly delivering coal and other crappy presents.

Here, he is much worse than that, dragging the bad people into the underworld. He is brought to this family after Max (Emjay Anthony) gets upset with them at Christmas. He just wants it to go back to the way he used to be, and he lashes out on his Christmas list.

That brings Krampus in as a major snowstorm blows through, shutting down the entire neighborhood into an uninhabitable mess. When Max's sister goes out to see her boyfriend and doesn't come back, their father Tom, played by the always reliable Adam Scott (Big Little Lies), an his brother-in-law Howard (David Koechner) head into the storm to find her. What they find instead is widespread destruction and Howard is attacked by some creature under the snow that rips a hole in his leg.

Krampus closes in on the house, and craziness ensues as his minions, which includes psychotic gingerbread cookies and other toys, do their bidding on the family. The horror violence is not too gory, but it is quite rough. It doesn't matter if it is adult or child, nobody is spared by the giant goat/demon. Luckily, the film is quite funny, which lightens the horror a bit to give it a decent balance. Also, the talented cast with Scott, Koechner, Toni Collette and Allison Tolman are all in despite this being a silly horror film that might have gone straight to streaming if it didn't have the stars attached. It probably gives Krampus a gravitas it doesn't deserve, but an occasionally fun one nonetheless.

Krampus is now streaming on HBO Now and HBO Go.

Rating: **1/2

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