released out now! 15 | 98 minutes Director Michael dougherty Cast adam scott, toni Collette, david Koechner, allison tolman
If you thought Gremlins had a twisted view of what makes a good Christmas, brace yourself for Krampus. Forged in the image of that Joe Dante classic, its assortment of festive fiends are a snowbound nightmare as young Max (Emjay Anthony) and his family battle the titular anti-Santa.
What’s most surprising about Superman Returns/X-movies co-writer Michael Dougherty’s film is just how dark he pushes the wintry frights. Early scenes recall Home Alone as Max’s ma (Toni Collette) and pa (Adam Scott) wind up hosting half the family over the festive season. Squabbling kids and boozehappy aunts are the least of their problems, though, when Max inadvertently summons Krampus, a horned monstrosity with an army of razor-toothed nasties. When they’re finally unmasked, these mostlyprosthetic critters are a grim delectation, while an animated interlude amps up the invention.
With its blizzards, creepy snowmen and gung-ho cast, there are moments where Krampus scrapes the underbelly of brilliance. A slow-burn mid-section and a try-hard climax limit its impact, meaning this isn’t quite a festive classic, but it sleighs, ahem, slays the majority of recent Christmas movies. Josh Winning
“If you want to see Rudolph again...”