Krampus (2015)

Starring: Toni Colette, Adam Scott, Emjay Anthony, Conchata Ferrell, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Krista Stadler

Directed by: Michael Dougherty

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

So until last month I'd never even heard of Krampus, the evil Anti-Santa Claus who knows when you've been naughty and metes out completely disproportionate punishments, and suddenly he's everywhere (okay, he was in another Christmas horror movie I watched this week, called, with Ronseal-approved precision, A Christmas Horror Story, which seemed to spend most of its meagre budget on getting William Shatner drunk on eggnog). But it turns out Krampus is now officially a Thing, like bingewatching and unexpectedly awesome films of people in their cars. He's even got his own Wikipedia page. Who knew?


In Krampus the budget is spent rather more wisely on a cavalcade of sfx that conspire to be both festively fearsome and laugh-out-loud funny: a combination that certainly didn't hurt in Gremlins (unless you were the dog...)

But we all know that, as Jean Paul Satre probably didn't write, hell isn't a primeval cloven-hooved monster stomping about on the roof, it's other people. And mostly, those other people share your DNA.

Hell is other people's families: Toni Colette and family in Krampus

This is certainly the case for over-achieving perfectionist super-couple Tom (Adam Scott) and Sarah (Toni Colette), who unwisely open their home to their gun-toting, wrestlemania relatives and quickly live (or don't) to regret it. None more so than sensitive son Max (Emjay Anthony), who we first encounter fighting Joseph at a nativity play because he said that Santa wasn't real. In the face of his cousins' derision, he throws his North Pole-bound wishlist to the wind and gives up his belief in Christmas.

Big mistake. Huge.

Okay, let's be honest, Krampus is never going to win any Oscars for originality – or plot, script, story, acting or anything else. But that doesn't stop it being enormously entertaining, an exuberantly ridiculous treat that's perfect for this most wonderful time of year, stressing the core Christmas values of loving and giving, while slashing straight through them with gnarly, pointy fingernails. True, it drags on a bit towards the end, but a delightful Coraline-esque backstory followed by a hilarious, Gremlins-inspired 'attack of the killer toys' scene makes up for, well, pretty much anything really.

So don your Christmas jumper, pour yourself a generous glass of eggnog and enjoy the guilty pleasure of a festive gift that is Krampus. He'll know if you don't...

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