Director: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen & Krista Stadler
Released by: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony, Chef) turns his back on the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately, in doing so, an ancient evil is awakened as the demonic Krampus casts his powerful forces upon the non-believers. In order to survive the night, the shattered family must band together to overthrow the shadow of Saint Nicholas. Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), Allison Tolman (Fargo), Conchata Ferrel (Edward Scissorhands), Stefania LaVie Owen (The Lovely Bones) and Krista Stadler (Lena Rais) comprise the ensemble cast.
Following his frightful statement on the Halloween season with 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat, Director Michael Dougherty submerges viewers in a snowstorm of scares with his darkly comical tale based on the Christmas folklore. After penning a desperate letter to Santa Claus to restore his families yuletide spirit, Max’s (Anthony) holiday is all but wrecked following the arrival of his trailer park relatives who further discourage his hopes. Overwhelmed with anger and sadness, Max tears up his letter, prompting a deadly snowstorm to take hold of his small-town as the goat-like Krampus descends on the home of the non-believers. Transforming the jolliest time of the year into a wintertime hell, Krampus, aided by his monstrous minions and evil gingerbread creatures, ravages the idyllic location ensuring that all who cross his path are on his naughty list. Sharing a special bond with his Austrian grandmother Omi (Stadler) who recalls the monster from her own childhood, Max and his family learn more about the evil overtaking their household with their fight for survival bringing them closer than ever before. With children and adults fair game to the film’s horrific antagonist, a white Christmas may not be what awaits under the tree this year.
Headlined by a sidesplittingly stellar cast of youngsters and dependable funnymen including, Adam Scott and David Koechner, Krampus seamlessly balances the rare Christmas chiller that packs ample jumps with stark black comedy achieved in spades. In addition, Director Michael Dougherty’s sophomore effort harmoniously joins the two worlds of modern day effects and practical wizardry, granting the film an authenticity that rarely betrays viewers eyes and their sense of movie magic. Channeling the genre-blending excitement common in its 80s influences, Krampus is a relentlessly fun, seat-jumping alternative to the warm, family-oriented fare routinely programmed during the holiday season.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment presents Krampus with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Boasting healthy, natural skin tones with festive holiday decorations and colorful clothing attire popping nicely, black levels are generally strong-looking with only occasional hints of murkiness due to the film’s intended lack of natural light. Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, dialogue is handsomely delivered while shotgun blasts and the chaotic energy of the film’s attacking monsters serve the track strongly. Meanwhile, snowy ambiance and the crackling of firewood further compliment the prominent screams of terror which permeate the mix with authority. Packed with plenty of supplemental presents, special features include, an Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Michael Dougherty and Co-Writers Todd Casey & Zach Shields, an Alternate Ending (1:24), Deleted/Extended Scenes (17:41) and a Gag Reel (5:15). In addition, Blu-ray exclusives feature Krampus Comes Alive! (29:36), an in-depth, five part featurette covering the film’s origin, casting, special effects and production design while, Behind the Scenes at WETA Workshop: Krampus (9:54) delves into the fascinating development of the film’s monster effects. Finally, several Galleries (478 in total) featuring poster art, creature art, storyboards and more are accompanied by a DVD counterpart and a Digital HD Code.
Joining the ranks of niche Christmastime frightfests, Krampus successfully treads the line of comedy and terror reminiscent of the free-spirited hijinks of Amblin Entertainment’s enduring 80s efforts. Complimented by exceptional high-definition merits and a thorough spread of bonus features, Krampus may be best devoured around the holidays yet, remains a devilishly fun gift that entertains year round.
Available now from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Krampus can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.