Bad Movies Beware!
Time for more Holiday Cheer!!
I’ve had a LOT of people tell me they want my feedback on the Krampus flick that came out last year. Well, I’ve been looking around, and I’m likely to grab it this weekend. In the meantime, I found this little gem.
What is Krampus? Well, turns out St. Nick has a brother with a nasty streak a mile wide. Santa takes care of the good kids by bringing them gifts every year, but the naughty kids get a little more than coal. They get a visit from Krampus, who tosses them in a sack and beats them with reeds before dragging them to Hell for a year.
Well, that’s what he does in the old German folklore.
Merry Fükenchristmas, kiddo.
Recent films have depicted Krampus a little differently. Now, he just straight-up kills the s**t out of people. Makes for better cinema, but damn. He’s a lot more demonic and less intelligent than the old stories make him out to be. Krampus: The Reckoning makes no exception to this and actually goes a step further by putting him under the control of someone who isn’t Santa.
So, with all of that being said, ONWARD!!
Krampus: The Reckoning begins with a little girl opening presents at Christmas while chatting with her grandmother. She complains that her sister has been awful and upsets her mother to the point of crying. Grandmother is reading a book about Krampus, Santa’s devilish brother who comes at Christmas time to punish naughty people.
Fast-forward to “present day,” and we meet little Zoe. Zoe is a bit… touched. And who can blame her? She’s in the foster system, and her foster parents are abusive coke fiends who padlock her in her room while they get high and have sex. Little do they know that Zoe has a set of yarn dolls made in the likenesses of her foster parents. She also has a cloth doll of Krampus, complete with little shackles on its wrists. She removes the shackles, and Krampus appears and burns her parents to death.
Enter Detective Miles, who takes on the case and takes Zoe to the pediatric ward of the hospital to stay while he tries to figure out what happened. We also meet Dr. Rachel Stewart, a child psychologist hired to try and get Zoe to help the police find out who murdered her foster parents.
Because yeah… total mystery.
Zoe has encounters with a few different characters through her stay at the hospital and puts Krampus on each of them in her own way. There’s a male nurse who is seemingly gentle and nice to Zoe, but she sees something else and sends Krampus after him. Turns out, ol’ nurse Nice Guy was heavily into child porn and had over a terabyte of kiddy smut on his computer. There’s also a burned girl in the ward. Zoe knows what happened and sends Krampus after Daddy Dearest.
We also discover that Rachel is plagued by nightmares. Funny story: these nightmares are flashbacks to the house from the opening scene. Not a lot left to the imagination there, and you pretty much guess what’s going on at this point. But, just the same, not gonna spoil it for you because this is actually a decent little indie.
VERDICT: Eh. Give it a look.
Krampus: The Reckoning actually isn’t too bad of a flick. In truth, I kind of liked it. Yeah, I know, “Where are the bad movies?!” Well. I’m finding that I’m getting tapped out on bad Christmas horror flicks. They’re getting harder and harder to come by in a pinch, which means I’m going to have to plan further out rather than waiting until November to start looking into it.
Not that this movie is without its flaws, mind you. The acting tends to lean toward the corny side every now and again. Some of Zoe’s dialogue is a little forced, which can be explained by some clunky writing here and there. There are times when she starts in on a character, like the burned girl in the ward, and goes on for a little too long when one or two fewer lines would’ve been way more effective.
Also, still on the writing, the twist at the end is no real surprise. You guess pretty quickly what the deal is, and fairly early on. That being said, it kind of kills the shock-value of the ending, and you end up getting left with a very Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark kind of vibe. Not that it’s bad, I still love those books, but it doesn’t translate well to film. Stories like that weren’t meant to be dragged out to an hour-plus film, and it can kind of drag things in some scenes.
Probably my biggest gripe is with Krampus himself. The creature was cool and not bad for low-budget CGI, but there’s a major flaw: IT’S NOT KRAMPUS. Krampus is hairy, kind of like a cross between Bigfoot and Satan. This Krampus is reptilian-looking, leaning more towards the demon side. Likely, it’s because adding hair would probably just add more to the cost of the CGI, but the scenes involving Krampus could’ve been done with a dude in a suit and some crafty cinematography just as effectively.
On that: we see WAY too much of Krampus. The mystery is spoiled with the first kill, and we’re left just waiting for the story to move along to the next major plot point. There’s no build-up to a big reveal of the actual creature, so the opportunity to create some real dread is lost. I get it: you got in some okay-quality CGI for your indie flick, and you want to show it off.
Chill, dude. Less is more.
I wouldn’t necessarily equate watching this film with drinking stale coffee brewed with the sweat wrung from an incontinent fat guy’s whitey-tighties after a thirty-minute stint on the treadmill in a gym with no air conditioning. More like ordering pizza and having to settle for sausage when what you REALLY wanted was pepperoni. I’m gonna give it three Piles of S**t. It’s got plenty to offer, but it misses the mark in places where just a slight tweak could’ve made the difference.