This not-quite-funny, not-quite-scary Christmas-themed comedy horror is like a festive Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from the spare parts of better movies. The gentle consumer satire of ‘Gremlins’ rubs up against family-as-madhouse slapstick of ‘Christmas Vacation’ and ‘Home Alone’. Add the fairytale spookiness of ‘Rare Exports’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, then undermine with the full-on seasonal sentiment of ‘The Polar Express’. The result: a noisy, mushy mess of a film, occasionally diverting, but generally forgettable.
It’s Christmas week, and wide-eyed little innocent Max (Emjay Anthony) is finding it all too much: his parents (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) are at each others’ throats, his sister (Allison Tolman) is a typical eye-rolling teenager and his awful cousins are on their way. But when Max tears up his letter to Santa, little does he know that this innocuous act will attract the attention of an older, crueller Christmas spirit...
Director Michael Dougherty’s 2007 portmanteau horror movie ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ has been building a reputation over the past few years, and ‘Krampus’ displays flashes of that film’s eerie intensity. The image of a suburban street lost in a howling snowstorm is particularly haunting. But elsewhere, the film suffers from serious overkill: too many obnoxious relatives, too many evil critters crawling out of the woodwork and too many weak gags at the expense of fat kids and foul-mouthed old ladies. Trust us, you’d be better off staying at home with a roaring fire and a nice family favourite.