Plot: What’s it about?
The trailer for Krampus certainly caught my eye, but I still missed it during its theatrical run. Despite an interesting premise and some solid reviews, I think it was the PG-13 rating that held me back. That isn’t to say that a rating always determines a film’s quality. It doesn’t. But here it appeared as if that would restrict the film’s potential. Turns out that I was wrong. It managed to turn a small profit this past holiday season as well. The film closely resembles Gremlins and some of the other Horror/Comedy mashups from the 80’s and early 90’s. While it’s certainly no modern classic. It can be quite a bit of fun if you keep your expectations reasonable.
Max (Emjay Anthony) is a young boy who is very traditional, and wants this Christmas to be the same as previous years. He would like to spend time with his mom and dad watching Charlie Brown among other traditions, but that won’t happen since various cousins are on their way. We learn that Max had an altercation at school and this upsets his father, Tom (Adam Scott). Max is a good kid, but can have a temper when he’s provoked. He also still believes in Santa Claus as well. He has a letter prepared of his wish list. When a couple of his cousins pick on him, he snaps and tears up the letter. The power goes out and this unleashes Krampus: an evil force that punishes those that are bad during the holidays. There are various other creatures that emerge as well including evil gingerbread men, evil elves and monstrous toys. The cast includes Toni Collette, Allison Tolman, David Koechner and Krista Stadler as “Omi” who knows all about the Krampus spirit. The thin plot does stretch itself a bit too much before the closing credits, but there’s enough here to maintain marginal interest. The film is never terribly frightening or humorous, but it gets the job done. It also has the curtsey to not exceed its welcome.
Video: How’s it look?
By and large, horror movies are generally dark. Since the movie epitomizes the genre, this looks – you guessed it – pretty dark and dismal. The 2.40:1 AVC HD image isn’t really ever challenged in the least. The darker scenes are rock solid, there is no movement in the shadows, no black crush and contrast is strong. Detail looks good as well, as we’d might expect, this is particularly unnerving when we see some of the creates that the film has to offer. Again I find myself saying this – it’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from a Blu-ray that’s new. While I found a few areas in which I think it was challenged (a bit of grain on some of the scenes), don’t let it bother you – this looks good.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD Master Audio track is included and does its job rather well. Vocals are crisp and rich, directional effects are used with great ambition and the front stage manages to stay pretty active throughout. While this isn’t the most active and robust mix I’ve heard, it’s really hard to find fault with these modern films. Even those that don’t have a lot going on still manage to sound pretty darn good and Krampus is no exception.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director/Co-Writer Michael Dougherty and Co-Writers Todd Casey & Zach Shields combine for a very interesting, and sometimes hilarious, commentary track. Essentially all aspects of the film are covered here from shooting locations to casting to the hour movie genre. This is a good track!
- Alternate Ending – Obviously I won’t give away the ending, but like other alternate endings, it’s not too entirely different from the original.
- Deleted Scenes – Several are included, though it’s clear why some didn’t make the final cut.
- Extended Scenes – Essentially some scenes that are longer with additional footage.
- Gag Reel – Shenanigans on the set.
- The Naughty Ones: Meet The Cast – At the center of this crazed story, filled with horrifying creatures and massive set pieces, are some of the funniest and most talented actors working today. This piece shines a light on the cast of Krampus as they share their experiences making this movie.
- Galleries – Still Images from the set
- Krampus and His Minions – In this exclusive feature see how Krampus and his twisted underlings gave the visual-effects superstars at Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-based Weta Workshop some creative and technical challenges. Viewers will have an insider look at howKrampus and his evil minions were created and executed.
- Practical Danger – Stunt Coordinator Rodney Cook walks viewers through how the film’s thrilling stunts were done live on set while facing challenges with the creatures, children and set design.
- Inside the Snowglobe: Production Design – Filming almost entirely on sound stages in the middle of summer in New Zealand, the art department and special effects team had to pull out all of their tricks to create sets that were realistic, ready for stunts and practical effects, all while creating the look of a winter wonderland.
- Behind the Scenes at Weta Workshop: Krampus – Go behind-the-scenes at the world famous Weta Workshop to see how they brought the amazing Krampus creatures to life.
- Dougherty’s Vision – In this featurette Director Michael Dougherty, along with the film’s cast and crew, reveal how his approach informed the tone, pacing, humor and performances of Krampus.
The Bottom Line
While never quite as good as the films that inspired it, Krampus still provides a decent time. At no point does it turn into a great film or a modern classic, it’s still worth checking out. Rent it.