A Not so Merry Movie


The only thing I agree with in terms of what the movie claims to be is a horror film, because Krampus 2015 was definitely horrific to consume. While I applaud the attempt of director Michael Dougherty to make a Christmas themed horror movie, I was still greatly disappointed with the way the film played out. 

The opening of the film was decent. I enjoyed the portrayal of Christmas as a selfish, capitalistic holiday rather than the typical way Christmas is painted in movies. I think if Doughtery would have continued this theme throughout the rest of the movie rather than abandoning it in the first 20 minutes I would have been able to take the plot more seriously. After a long scene of people fighting each other in the mall and yelling at fake Santas, the audience is introduced to the family the rest of the film is centered on: the Engels. The Engels are a typical, strained American family that have lost the meaning of Christmas. Max, the youngest son, attempts to bring his dysfunctional family back together for Christmas by asking for it from Santa. When his cousin, Jordan, finds the letter Max wrote to Santa and pokes fun at him for still believing in Saint Nicholas, Max destroys the letter, and with it, his hope. 

What ensues after his tantrum, is by far one of the most awful turns of events I have watched. The morning after Max has lost his Christmas spirit, a blizzard falls over Max’s neighborhood, trapping him and his family inside for the three days leading up to Christmas. As the blizzard blows on, “creepy” events start to unfold for the family. These events spark deja vu for Max’s German grandmother. She warns her family of what is to come: because they have lost their hope and love for Christmas, Krampus— Saint Nicholas’s evil counterpart in European folklore— and his “helpers” will come for them and essentially drag their souls to hell. Max’s grandmother knows all of what’s to come for her because the same thing happened to her family—obviously.

My first major critique of the plot is why did no one know about their grandmother’s past? Why was the small detail of her entire family and German village being slaughtered by the “Shadow of Saint Nicholas” never brought up? If she knew Krampus would come back if Christmas hope was lost, why was she not helping Max invoke holiday spirit in the rest of the family?

My second critique is regarding Krampus’s “helpers”. Essentially these monsters consist of traditional Christmas icons and toys that are evil. Half of the movie is spent focusing on gingerbread men stabbing at the family, jack in the boxes eating two of Max’s cousins, and half of Max’s family being turned into snowmen? If you’re going to make a horror movie about a classic European folklore why tarnish it with cheesy Christmas gremlins? I think that the concept of a Krampus film is not even half bad. There have been a plethora of folklore centered horror movies that have been well done; La Lorrona, The Ritual, Candyman are a few that come to mind. What makes these films good is that they focus on the traditional lore behind them—what made them initially scary when they were first told. So why ruin Krampus’s story with cheesy Christmas characters? 

Lastly, I was deeply offended by the conclusion of this film. I’m not going to spoil the ending but it was by no means creepy or well thought out. It honestly felt like I was watching the ending of the children’s movie Santa Clause 3.

I think if Doughtery would’ve labeled this movie as a horror/comedy film he could’ve perhaps gotten away with the cheesiness and even made a movie worth watching more than once. On the other hand he could’ve made a great classic folklore horror movie if he ditched his whole Christmas nostalgia attempt. 

The cast coupled with a pre-established creepy story should’ve made Krampus 2015 a great movie, but it did not.