The Horizon Sun

Quite Possibly the Worst Movie I Have Ever Seen: Krampus

“Krampus” is a horror movie based off Christmas, released Dec. 4, 2015. However, both the execution of the film and the morals questioned in the movie made the movie a complete waste of time. Be prepared for major spoilers.

Selina Fluty, Columnist

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When I walked into the theater to watch “Krampus,” two days after its release, I had high hopes for the movie. The movie was already a rarity, seeing as it’s a Christmas-themed horror movie, so I was excited. I was a little skeptical about the fact that a horror movie had been rated PG-13, yet I still hoped for something to appreciate, and to maybe get a good scare. However, I really should not have been expecting much. The next hour and a half of my life was wasted completely on a movie that not only was offensive, but frankly had a terrible plot line and progression of events.

The movie started out with a Black Friday “war” in a store, and it went on for so long that I honestly doubted that I had walked into the correct theater. At the end of the extremely long and boring montage of adults fighting over gifts, it panned to a scene with two kids fighting in the middle of a play. Why there was a play centered around the Christian Christmas story, played by little kids who couldn’t be older than 10, in the middle of Black Friday at a store that looks suspiciously like a Target, I don’t know. But, hey, the writers had to have some sort of cliched conflict between two kids, right?

Then, the scene changes to the home of Max (Emjay Anthony), and his parents, Sarah (Toni Collette) and Tom (Adam Scott). Max’s sister, Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen), is on her phone as Max (quite young, probably around eight to 10 years old) talks to his mom about how the kid he was fighting was a bully and said that Santa wasn’t real to a couple little kids. Also, Tom apparently has to work on Christmas, adding another “Dad is always working and doesn’t care about his family” cliche into the mix.

The extended family arrives for Christmas – Sarah’s sister, Linda (Allison Tolman), her husband Howard (David Koechner), sisters Stevie and Jordan (Lolo Owen and Queenie Samuel), the son Howie Junior (Maverick Flak), and a surprise guest, Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell). There was also a baby, whose name isn’t specified. The dinner scene starts with Stevie and Jordan figuring out that Max had a letter to Santa, then stealing it from him at the table and reading it out loud. The letter itself was sweet, wishing for the times he spent with Beth to happen again, for his parents to fall in love once more, and to help out his uncle and aunt.

Before that, however, the writers couldn’t help but throw in a racist joke. At the dinner, Sarah is stressed because of how her guests were wrecking things and starting arguments. In a sudden outburst, Aunt Dorothy tells Sarah, “Calm down! What are you, a Jew?”

Immediately, red flags set off in my head. It wasn’t even the fifth scene, and already there’s a racist joke being thrown in? At this point, I wasn’t only underwhelmed, but now angry. The only reason that I didn’t leave right then was the fact that I’d payed to see this.

Next, the scene changes, and Max is in his room. His dad comes in to talk to him, but Max is still clearly upset. He says that he just wants things to be like how they used to. When his dad leaves his room, he rips up the letter to Santa that was previously stolen from him at the table and throws it out the window. Here, cue some disappointing Common Gateway Interface (CGI) graphics of the pieces of the letter rising up and swirling in the air until they disappear under the light of a moon.

That night, every house in the neighborhood for seemingly miles around loses power. Who knows why, magic? Beth asks her mom to go to her boyfriend’s house the next day, and Sarah says yes, as long as she gets home in an hour.

Beth is on the way, but suddenly, a giant CGI goat man casually hops from roof to roof, chasing her down as she runs screaming. The CGI detailing his body from a distance felt unrealistic and reduced the intensity of the moment. Beth hides under an abandoned van. The creature circles the van, and Beth is obviously terrified. When she thinks she’s safe, she turns to find a jack-in-the-box beside the van. Then, the camera pans to a look above the van as it starts shaking and Beth starts screaming, hinting at being in pain and afraid. I understand the fact that in this movie, a child is inevitably going to die, but did it have to be in the first half hour of the movie, and did it have to be a child being the first to be gruesomely killed?

The next scene is at night. Omi (Krista Stadler), the grandmother who speaks little English, tends to the fire. On a side note, halfway through the movie, they stopped including the subtitles, so the viewer, if they didn’t understand Austrian or a language similar to that, you had no idea what she was saying.

Anyways, at that point, Tom and Harold decide to check on Beth and see if she got to her boyfriend’s house. However, when they get to his house, the place is empty and freezing due to a blizzard. On the fridge, there’s a gingerbread man, a knife keeping it stuck to the refrigerator. Which, again, is a cliche – a gentle, harmless thing, twisted into a morbid show, often a warning for bad tidings to come.

On the way back, their giant truck has been destroyed since they left, and Harold gets attacked on the walk back home. When they return to the house, they recount the story and the kids hear. There is a moment of bonding between the families, and Omi begins to recount how she first met Krampus, suddenly speaking English like she hadn’t before.

As this movie is becoming notorious for bad CGI graphics, they return as Omi tells the story. I don’t know exactly why they found it important to animate this story instead of act it, but maybe it was to amuse little kids, who shouldn’t have been watching this movie, anyways.

The story Omi tells explains how she was always upset around Christmas because, as a child, she’d been poor, and her parents were always arguing. So, because she got upset as a little girl, Krampus came to kill her entire family and take them to the underworld forever. This is what is happening to Max. Since Max had “lost the Christmas spirit,” Krampus had come to take all of his family to the underworld, except Max, which is just ridiculous, of course.

Another point is the fact that the real story of Krampus is not like this at all. The Alpine myth of Krampus (a man with goat horns and goat-like features, wearing a red-and-white cape) was started to keep children out of trouble. On December 6, the goat man would sneak into naughty children’s homes, beat them, then take them to his underworld lair for a year, returning them home eventually.

But back to the story. That night, the fire dissipates in the fireplace, and a gingerbread wrapped in chains drops down from the chimney. Of course, Howard Junior, a kid who’s a little pudgier than most, wakes up and takes a bite out of the gingerbread man, seemingly ignoring the chains on the gingerbread man, and is taken by Krampus. So, not only did the creators of this movie include A) terrible graphics, B) a bad plot line, C) racism, but now D) fatphobia. Could this get any worse?

Yes. Yes, it could.

Now comes even worse graphics and more morals tested. Toys come to life to try to kill the family, a clown is obviously just a guy wrapped in a polka-dot sheet crawling on the floor, and the notorious gingerbread men come to life with the power of more unrealistic CGI. Stevie watches Jordan get eaten alive by the clown just for shock factor, which is cruel and pointless. Then, include an awkward close up on Omi as she says “Elves,” and add hunched-over actors in shawls and masks, taking the previously-mentioned baby with them. That baby is going to suffer in the “underworld,” now. The terribly-designed elves are going to take the baby to the underworld. There are lines, and this movie is crossing them.

At the end, there’s only Tom, Sarah, Max, Linda, Omi, and Stevie. They have to escape the house, because Krampus is finally getting rid of his cronies and pulling out the big guns – himself. Omi stands up to the creature who took her family, then gets eaten by his toys. Congrats on the creativity. Not.

On the long walk in the snow to safety, Tom gets killed, and the clearly-traumatized rest of the group keep moving forward. Max and Stevie watch their parents get killed, which was again purely for shock factor, and then Stevie gets taken. Max threatens to sacrifice himself before Stevie gets thrown into the fiery-red underworld by elves. May I remind you, this kid looks like he’s eight.

A bright white light, and Max wakes up. Everyone is alive and well. Then, he gets a gift from Krampus, a little bell with Krampus’ name on it, the same gift that Krampus had given Omi when he had killed her family.

Then the camera pans out, and the house is actually in a snowglobe? In a cave somewhere? Who knows how that happened? What?!

And then, because the creators just couldn’t let it go, they get the CGI creatures to pop up, giving the audience one more jump scare. And then it ends.

So, in the end, this was the worst movie I have ever seen in theaters, and it’s definitely not worth paying money to see. It’s offensive, poorly written, and poorly executed. Although the concept had potential, the movie itself snuffs out the unique legend of Krampus and ruins the interesting backstory of the “evil Saint Nicholas.” If you want to get a good scare or a decent story, don’t go watch “Krampus.” Instead, save yourself some money and watch a horror movie on Netflix, or just anything at all. Most everything is better than this movie, anyways.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Quite Possibly the Worst Movie I Have Ever Seen: Krampus”

  1. Mick on September 24th, 2017 6:23 pm

    Cheer up.

  2. Anonymous on February 17th, 2019 1:06 am

    Personally, I completely disagree but I respect your opinion. I don’t feel like it was a waste of my time or my money and I think it was a decent movie considering the other Krampus movies I have seen, which is about all of them. Also, I don’t see where “fatphobia” applies in this movie. A kid going to eat a gingerbread man is fatphobic because he was a bigger kid? To be fair, I’m fairly skinny and so is my younger sister and if I were his age I would’ve gotten after it too and my sister even now would too. Also, I don’t know what you watched, but I didn’t see them stop the translations except once where not even Max knew what she was saying. I liked how they took everyone but Max, it left him because he gave up on Christmas spirit and he had to pay the price, even going as far as taking baby Chrissie and the dog Rosie. Also, how is animating the backstory bad CGI? Another thing, I don’t see the racism. Nothing here to do with Omi has to do with racism and you didn’t explain it at all. And Omi wasn’t always upset around Christmas, she always tried to make everyone around her happy and tried to spread Christmas cheer until one Christmas she just felt hopeless and gave up, THAT’S why Krampus took everyone away. If you paid any attention other than to criticize, you would’ve got that part of the story. ANOTHER thing, they weren’t eaten. They were taken in various ways (Omi was PULLED into the sack by the toys and Beth and Jordan weren’t necessarily eaten, rather stored and thrown in as well like everyone else) and thrown into a pit known as the Underworld. Finally, they weren’t in a snow globe literally, he was watching them through the snow globe. Point, blank, period. Now, like you stated YOUR opinion, I have stated mine. I respect your opinion as I stated previously, but the more I read the aggravated I became. I hope you understand. Have a great day.

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Quite Possibly the Worst Movie I Have Ever Seen: Krampus