After losing his faith in Christmas and tearing apart his letter to Santa, a young boy (Emjay Anthony) accidentally summons the malevolent holiday demon Krampus. The following day, his family awaken to find that a massive blizzard has knocked out the power in their house, and they are soon forced to fight for survival as the fearsome folklore creature and his minions proceed to wreak havoc on the dysfunctional clan. Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner co-star in this hybrid of black comedy and horror from director Michael Dougherty (Trick 'r Treat).~Daniel Gelb
The naughty ones: meet the cast
Feature commentary with filmmakers
Krampus comes alive!
Krampus and his minions
Inside the snowglobe: production design
Behind the scenes at WETA workshop: Krampus
Conchata FerrellAunt Dorothy
Curtis VowellDHL Man
Ivy GeorgePerchta the Cherub
Douglas PipesComposer (Music Score)
Peter AftermanMusical Direction/Supervision
Jules CookProduction Designer
Alistair KaySupervising Art Director
Marko AnttonenSet Designer
Bob BuckCostume Designer
Karen TriestSound/Sound Designer
Cathy Sandrich GelfondCasting
John MorrisSound Effects Editor
Mark PatersonRe-Recording Mixer
Tony LambertiRe-Recording Mixer
Creature Film,Holiday Film
Year of Release
Dolby Digital w/ sub-woofer channel, stereo, Digital Theater Systems (akin to 5.1)
Great 4k transfer movie is a lot of fun the naughty cut didn’t really notice a lot of difference between the pg13 version and this cut well I say this is the better version transfer is way better so this is a must
There's a sort of set of horror films I try desperately to avoid. There are a few types of horror movies I avoid: the truly bad kind (that people only like ironically, or with post-modern post-irony: "I find the failure born of hubris endearing"), the bad kind some think are okay because the effects are at or near believable (even if everything else about the movie is awful), the kind that most horror fans I run into tend to like (like the former, but about gore/murder setpieces), and the most cynical kind (that often fits with any of the previous groups) that seem to just by soulless exercises in creating setpieces, cheap scares, and/or cult-followings. That inauthenticity is the worst, especially for its periodic successes. I long thought--perhaps muddling the idea with another movie or such-like--this was somewhere in the middle there: a decent budget, but somewhere along the spectrum from "truly bad" to "enjoyed because ideas/effects, with no regard for anything around it". Perhaps something like a SyFy original movie, which often seems to brush up against a fictional version of "ripped from the headlines" ("What's trending in horror?"). I heard a few solid reviews, then found Adam Scott was one of the leads and thought, "Eh, I could use some greater variety in my 'off' Christmas movies".
Max (Emjay Anthony) is a young boy set to spend another family Christmas with his mother Sarah (Toni Collette), father Tom (Scott), older sister Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen), aunt Linda (Allison Tolman), grandma "Omi" (Krista Stadler), uncle Howard (David Koechner), and cousins (Howie, Jr. -- Maverick Flack, Jordan -- Queenie Samuel, and Stevie -- Lolo Owen). A Christmas play gone wrong, friction between his parents, his critical sister, and his bullying cousins cause Max to finally break down and reject his love of Santa Claus and Christmas. Unbeknownst to him, this sets Krampus loose on the family: a malevolent spirit that comes out something like a twisted, darkened mirror of Santa Claus. Through intense disbelief--justifiable, under the circumstances--the family slowly realizes they are under threat from something truly malicious.
Director and co-writer (with Todd Casey and Zach Shields) Michael Dougherty has tried to revive the spirit of bigger budget horror from the 1980s (Gremlins, Poltergeist, etc), their mentality, effects (the practical kind), and senses of humour. As I often appreciate, this turns out to be not only generally successful, but also turned just-modern-enough to hopefully satisfy the kinds of people who refuse to accept a movie that's neatly linear and "predictable". The threat is made quite real--something the aforementioned movies were successful at achieving, but tending toward unstated shields around a group of core characters--without drifting into utter nihilism, that I also find rather frustrating. WETA Workshop, enlisted for effects, put in great work, that not only helps to easily suspend disbelief, but is creative, interesting, and as high quality was one expects from that crew. The envisioning of this iteration of the Krampus legend is so focused on Krampus as anti-Santa that it can't resist almost all the elements being nudged at, but especially choosing to make the assistants of Krampus not only (rather dark) elves, but also sentient, aggressive, bloodthirsty toys, like a jack-in-the-box, or teddy bear, hideous and monstrous in design.
The quality of actors (Scott, Collette, and Anthony, especially) alongside those effects is married to a script that manages to nicely align the triangle between melodramatic conflict, realism, and exaggeration for humour's sake. The in-laws are the greatest tug on exaggeration (a given, I'd almost think due to Koechner), but even on their own will keep things in the right range. This is the most successful element of reviving 80's-style films I can think of, trapped just past the center of the tilt from decreasingly stagey (or "freed-from-the-stage") kinds of characters to "meticulous realism". We can laugh at the absurdities of a character because they're so clearly from a reasonable range of archetypes, tweaked just enough to give us that sense of depth and "don't judge a book" kinds of tentative movement the 80's showed so much of, as a greater trend in writing toward shaded character rolled over things. The setting and design choices are quite good as well, capturing everything the film wants to, from nods to and proof of issues characters bring up, to hitting the mark on the tone and atmosphere intended--from a relatively wealthy home at a modern Christmas, to a hellish tundra devoid of other life, near-apocalyptic from both violent-intruder and climate-wasteland perspectives, holing up not just for safety from the evil forces afoot, but also the bitter, freezing cold enhanced by their presence.
Throw in some good character moments and development, some brave choices that feel neither rote nor "anti-rote", and a good sense of humour, and this may well start to enter my annual end-of-year rotation.
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Christmas demon movie… noice
Owned for 6 months when reviewed.
I love this movie especially around the Christmas holiday. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and still manages to be spooky. The monster design is so good.