Monday, July 25, 2016

KRAMPUS (2015)



Directed By: Michael Dougherty 
Written By: Zach Shields, Michael Dougherty & Todd Casey 
Cinematography By: Jules O’Loughlin 
Editor: John Axelrad 


Cast: Toni Collette, Adam Scott, David Koechner, Allison Tolman , Conchetta Ferrell, Emjay Anthony

When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family's home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

At first this film seems to play up the more comedic elements of the story.

It plays like a darker version of GREMLINS, Only more supernatural.

The cast sets the tone, though with Toni Colette. The film can go either way from horror, to drama to comedy. As she is good, versatile and established in all, but most of the recognizable cast are comedic veterans especially both Adam Scott and David Koechner. Which it seems like this film is a warm up for them to do a buddy movie. With the two of them instantly memories of comedic horror films such as PIRAHNA 3D come to mind and what you expect. Except only this one is less explosive, but tries more for a hard edges family friendly vibe. That's more well thought out.

The second act of the film has more humor the. Horror at times, but slowly becomes more serious and thrilling as it goes along.

Director Michael Dougherty is making his second feature and again another horror themed holiday film. (After TRICK R' TREAT) Full of folklore, energy and fun.

At first this film takes a more cynical attitude and look at the holidays and situations that traditionally go along with them. Though children are in peril. You know nothing truly violent will happen to them at least on screen. There are scares, but an Absence of stakes.

In his films so far there always is an Augustus Gloop type of character. An grossly overweight yet cute character who has victim written all over him, but is there for a few good pokes of humor. The director backs the silliness of the film with a strong backstory that enriches the film and helps the audience forgive the more ridiculous elements. Which serves the film from the tone and fate of films such as SANTA'S SLAY. Which seek to be made and written around the title rather then have a good story thought out.

As here the film like JAWS only suggests a phantom who we see glimpses of and shadows. As we see the hard work done mainly by possessed toys and appliances.

The film is almost like a nightmare supernatural version of HOME ALONE or NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION.

It's more a film of scares then actual macabre violence or graphic horror. The most objectionable thing here is language and some blood.

The creatures in the attic are truly terrifying. Even if the demented gingerbread men seem more like cute gremlins. That truly makes you wonder if the film is trying to be more innocent and family friendly.

This film Makes more for a starter horror film. More made for those who get scared easily or are uneasy with the horror genre. As it contains the elements but does so with a lighter touch. It could almost be a harder edged family film. Though can easily be enjoyed by horror aficionados as long as hey can accept more of a mainstream and lightweight horror product.

Another aspect to enjoy here is that the special effects seem to be more practical and less extravagant then a cgi production.

The film feels too knowing and knowledgeable to be a classic. Too glossy to be quite as noteworthy. Though entertaining throughout the viewings with plenty of gothic designs. Especially the terror toys.

The film is a creepy co faction with a nod to JEEPERS CREEPERS. As the film is fun yet allows it to be downtrodden and unhappy.

The film fits right in with the directors oeuvre so far 

GRADE: B-

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