REVIEW: Krampus

Loosely based around the traditional Alpine folklore, “Krampus” is a thriller that lacks a real thrill.


Lauren Rosenstock, Assistant Editor-in-Chief, Sports Editor


1.5/ 5


This out-of-the-ordinary Christmas movie has a serious plot showcasing mediocre acting and poor CGI effects. The thrill and main plot of the film is centered around the family attempting to find missing family members and destroy the elves and deranged “presents” that Krampus brings.

Krampus is a horned, fanged and anthropomorphic spirit who brings birch sticks to punish children and families who have misbehaved. The overall purpose of Krampus is to scare people into being nice the next year. People who have been especially bad are lured with false gifts into being kidnapped by Krampus, never to be seen again.

Evil elves and destructive presents do not accurately depict the lore of Krampus. He is essentially and Anti- Santa Claus, also known as Santa’s rouge younger brother.

This family (without a last name) invites their cousins to stay with them over the holidays. They arrive on Dec. 23 and bring havoc and chaos into this family’s life temporarily. Traditionally, Krampus does not come to scare people so close to Christmas. Krampusnacht, “the night of Krampus,” most commonly starts the first week of Dec. and ends just before Christmas.

I have always been interested in lore, fantasies and folktales such as the story of Krampus and knowing the origins of this tale only made me notice the inaccuracies of “Krampus” even more often.

There are connections between the lore and the movie, but there are few. Krampus does carry a large sack, much like Santa’s gift bag, but it has been said to be the place he keeps the naughty children he kidnaps.

One particular scene highlights the hook and belled chain attached to Krampus’s bag, which is true. The idea behind the hook and belled chain is to make the children think it is Santa with the jingle bells ringing as the hook hangs in the chimney. Often, there is a toy on the hook, to make the children think that it is Santa leaving a little present for them.

A cousin hears the bells in the middle of the night and finds a large gingerbread man on the end of the hook. He instinctively goes to retrieve the cookie to eat. Unlike in folktales, the cookie is evil and attacks the young boy after he bites it.

At this point in the film, all of Krampus’s evil toys come out to attack the family and bring them to Krampus for consumption. The family fights the monsters sent by Krampus for about half of the film’s running time of 98 minutes. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the CGI effects were well drawn, but poorly integrated and clearly computer generated.

Once the family destroys all of the evil creatures there is a sequence where the family leaves the home to look for missing family members in the middle of a blizzard. Following Krampus’s arrival at the start of the picture, the power and heat are lost, followed by a heavy blizzard. The family being affected by Krampus feels as though they have been abandoned by their surrounding neighbors and cannot find help close by.

Unlike most sane parents, the adults let the oldest daughter, Beth, walk to her boyfriend’s house while the wind is at crazy speeds and the temperature is dipping by the minute. She soon gets taken by Krampus and when she does not return the family begins their search for her. This is when everything falls apart. People are getting injured left and right and after a while the great-aunt that is visiting isn’t mentioned and doesn’t participate in the search or fight to live.

The same goes for the grandmother. She speaks German in most the film and tells the story of how she learned of Krampus as a young girl in Germany. It is a lovely story, especially since she uses her shining moment to speak English, but at the climax of the story it looks like Tim Burton came in and animated five minutes of critical info.

There was no need for it and while watching I just thought, “As much as I like this tale, I really could have done without this whole sequence.”

There were accuracies and even more inaccuracies to this picture, and scenes that could have been left out, this movie was overall a bitter disappointment coming from a person heavily interested in Pagan and Alpine folklore.

Released Dec. 4, and rated PG-13, the film does provide basic information about Krampus that a limited number of cultures would agree with. A lack of thrill, but a few good jump scares gave this movie a couple of positives. The cast was fantastic and the team in charge of the trailer really did a good job, but if I was the director I would have fired a few people along the way (like the fact checker/ historian and the CGI crew). Sorry, director/ writer Michael Dougherty but do some more research before you write your next film.