Director – Jason Hull (Krampus: The Devil Returns)
Starring – Jay Dobyns (The Z), Paul Ferm (Krampus: The Devil Returns), and Bill Oberst Jr. (Circus of the Dead)
Release Date – 2013
Rating – 2/5
Tagline – “Are you on the naughty list”
The Christmas season is in full fucking swing and all my spare time has been spent watching some form of Christmas flick. I typically watch a shit load of horror related Christmas flicks this time of year but in the last few years that has tended to put me out of the Christmas spirit. However, this year I tried to keep my Christmas spirit going and enjoy the holiday with my 7 month old daughter and try to capture the magic Christmas had for me as a child.
With that being said, I am still a rabid horror fan and one film that I put off all year to watch during the holiday season. That film was Jason Hull’s Krampus: The Christmas Devil. I had heard a lot about the film after other writers at Horror Society started covering the film. It looked very interesting so I reached out to Hull who was nice enough to send me a review copy. I received it over the summer and waited patiently until the season hit. Thanks Jason for sending it!
**Spoiler Alert**The film begins in 1983 as a giant man drags a small boy to an icy lake and throws him in. The hooded man then turns and leaves allowing the young boy the liberty of escaping. We then jump to present day and that little boy is a cop who is working a case. Several children have gone missing over the last few days. He meets with two other officers and he tells them about his abduction as a child. The three officers head out to the area with the small lake in hopes of finding the person responsible for abducting him when he was younger and the recent kidnappings. They do find the hooded man and we learn that it is Krampus, the brother of Santa.
He attacks the three men killing the two officers and abducting the man once again. He takes him back to his lair where he locks him up and starts torturing a nude woman when Santa arrives and lets him go. He goes to the precinct and is let go off the force until things can get settled. However, a man he had sent to jail for raping a young girl is let free. He gets out of prison and heads to his home to rape and kill his wife and kids. However, Krampus arrives and kills the man and his goons before they can get that far. Now that leaves the cop and Krampus to settle old scores. **Spoiler Alert**
Christmas horror is something that I love the idea of but rarely find some that entertain. I like the cheesy Christmas horror flicks that usually incorporates the holiday decorations and themes into the film and kills. The more series themed holiday horror flicks tend to skip all that and fail on the delivery. Sadly, that is what happened to Krampus: The Christmas Devil. The film was an attempt as a serious Christmas horror flick that just did not sit well as a horror film. It did have the makings of being a solid crime drama but the mix with horror just did not work that well.
The acting in this film is not genuine. Most of the cast felt like they were just reading the lines instead of trying to portray their characters. This did make the film a chore to watch. There was once exception and that was the amazing performance of Bill Oberst Jr. Oberst is brilliant and once again shows why he is the king of indie acting.
The story for this one feels like two very different films fell into one. The first film feels like a crime drama revolving around a cop who sent a real bad man to prison. That real bad man then gets out and seeks revenge on those that sent him away. I don’t know how many times this actual story has been used but it is very played out. We then have the horror element revolving around Krampus and his abducting of kids that have been naughty. As two separate films they would have been effective but together they fail to flow as one, coherent movie.
Finally, the film does have a few death scenes but none are that great nor are they entertaining. The special effects are very minimal and they do not improve the few deaths we do get. Overall, Krampus: The Christmas Devil is a film that has a lot going on but they fail to come together to make something entertaining. Heavy editing could have saved this film.