Bad Movies Beware!
Another one for the compost.
This one came out of left field and is about a character widely ignored during the Christmas season. And for good reason. Who the hell wants to think that Santa has a counterpart that kills off the children who are naughty rather than just let Santa give them a lump of coal?
And why a lump of coal? A more effective present to punish the naughty kids would be something like mowing the lawn while wearing a tutu or having to watch Manos: The Hands of Fate.
I know the latter shaped me up pretty good.
Krampus is actually old news. He originated in European lore, mostly in Austria and Germany. The idea is that Santa doesn’t just give the bad kids a lump of coal. While St. Nick is out rewarding the kids who were good for the year, Krampus goes house to house and punishes the kids who were naughty.
While this might’ve been an effective tool to scare kids into behaving back in the day, modern-day kids would be more likely to act up just to see the cool monster.
The movie opens with Krampus dragging a kid wrapped up in a burlap sack across a snowy field. He drops the kid into a hole in the ice covering a lake then leaves. The kid manages to escape and get home, and Krampus runs out of time before he can retrieve the child and punish him.
Fast forward to present day. Jeremy Duffin, the kid from the beginning, is now an adult and a detective with the local police. He’s called into work, and his first line in the movie is where the whole damn thing begins the first stages of the flushing process.
Kids have been turning up missing all over town, and Jeremy is juggling his investigation with his personal search for his own childhood abductor. He takes his slack-ass acting skills to the chief, who approves his request to assemble a team and go after the culprit.
Okay, we’re ten minutes into the movie, and he already has a bead on the bad guy and a plan of action? Sweet! The pain will be brief on this one…
Oh, God, it’s an hour and a half long.
Meanwhile, a surly redneck in a Santa outfit storms through the dark like a disgruntled Hee-Haw actor and approaches Krampus. Turns out this is “jolly” ol’ St. Nick. Father Christmas is deer-huntin’ good ol’ boy with a mean streak as wide as the Confederacy and the mouth of a sailor.
I half-expected to smell the beer and Copenhagen on his breath through my TV screen.
He tells Krampus to remember that he only has until midnight on Christmas Eve to complete his work and that the naughty children must be punished. He gives a short lecture on how important the work is. Krampus nods and the scene ends.
No, really. That’s it.
eremy and his crack (head) team of two extras, I mean meatbags for Krampus, hit the woods the next morning armed with automatic rifles and camouflage to find Krampus and save the kidnapped children.
I get it. Totally. With no leads, no info that we know of, and no transition whatsoever, we’re just to assume that Jeremy felt a disturbance in the Force and followed it to the woods. Either that, or someone (Jason Hull, writer/director) is a HUGE Call of Duty fan.
Anywho, Krampus takes out the two squad members, killing one and knocking out the other. Jeremy shows up, and Krampus knocks him out as well, then drags the living back to his lair.
There’s a young kid, maybe ten, locked up in a chicken wire cage, and there’s a girl tied up in a corner wearing nothing but her panties.
Jeremy’s partner wakes up, and Krampus kills him. Jeremy wakes up while Krampus is busy fondling the girl and escapes.
Could’ve freed the boy at least.
Santa shows up and frees the girl and boy, then sets Krampus straight and tells him to focus on Jeremy’s daughter, Heather.
Jeremy shows back up to the station a mess and is suspended so that they can investigate the murders of the two other officers. In the meantime, Jeremy goes to the local bar to get drunk and ends up in a bar fight with a few of the other cops out there who are angry with him over four other officers who have died during his investigation.
Okay…this would’ve been good to know in the beginning. Not asking for an entire scene of exposition, but just a line would’ve been nice.
OH! That’s right! MOST OF THE MOVIE IS IMPROV.
Cut to Jeremy’s house, where his wife and daughter are besieged by a group of convicts with a vendetta against Jeremy. The leader ties up the wife while one of his thugs chases Heather up to her room.
Keep in mind, this girl is supposed to be like fourteen or fifteen. Obviously she isn’t, but we all know how that goes. She easily convinces the thug that she wants to ride him on her bedroom floor, then she stabs him to death with a knife that she just so happened to have in her room.
The leader interrogates Mom in the kitchen, but she doesn’t have any idea where Jeremy is. The only question he didn’t ask her was WHAT IN THE NAME OF ZEUS’S BUTTHOLE DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH KRAMPUS?!
Dude goes outside when he hears a noise, thinking that it might be Jeremy. Krampus shows up in full light, and we see his face as he growls at the criminal and kills him off. Jeremy shows up, sees the carnage in the yard, and finds Heather wandering the yard. He goes in and kills off the last thug, then sends Heather up to her room to hide.
Jeremy frees his wife, then says that Krampus is here and that she needs to get out. I guess it was his Spidey-sense tingling because NOTHING happens to indicate that Krampus is nearby.
Krampus knocks him down, kills the wife, and leaves with Heather. While the cops storm the house, we cut to the cave where Krampus has Heather tied up and is about to have some holiday fun with her.
At least we got to see Krampus’s face!
VERDICT: SANTA LEFT A TURD IN MY STOCKING.
Dear God, this was bad.
It goes back to the fact that, despite what people think, I actually do enjoy a GOOD indie film. Note the operative word there. Budget is an issue, but talent doesn’t need financial backing, and improv is just f**king hard to pull off convincingly. I have to give it to the actors in The Blair Witch Project because they managed to come off real.
Not these guys!
While it may have been written by Jason Hull, the story seems to be made up by the actors on the fly. They often add in elements during the dialogue that end up being pointless and lead nowhere in the story.
Even entire scenes happen for no real reason, at least not initially. There is no transitioning from scene to scene, so a lot of events that may (or may not) have been built up earlier are seem to come way out of left field because any possible build-up has been forgotten by that point.
The acting, of course, ends up coming off wooden and unrealistic. The actors often repeat the same line over and over while they try to come up with another line that will move the scene along, and a lot of it just ends up being an endless word vomit.
The only saving grace is the costume on Krampus, which is where most of the budget probably went. Now, if only the storyline stuck to that character instead of wandering like a mental patient on thorazine. Though it may try to tell an intense and deep story, the movie is really just one massive SQUIRREL! moment.
Do yourself a favor if you plan on watching Krampus The Christmas Devil…ask Santa to bring some morphine and a bottle of whiskey to wash it down. It’ll at least cover the smell of Santa’s chew.