Viewed – 26 April 2016 online-rental
I can’t say these days I’m really a Christmas person and well, stopped watching Christmas themed movies a while back. It’s something about the traditions, the schmaltz and the build up that mostly leaves me cold. However outside of Christmas is watching a Christmas movie wrong? Well I did it anyway, thankfully this one spins such age old traditions on their head.
A dysfunctional family are getting together to spend Christmas eating, getting drunk and arguing. There’s a few stereotypes, such as the moody teenage daughter, the annoying brother in law, the creepy grandma and the wise beyond his years little kid. It wear’s its clichés with pride however and perfectly sets the tone for a decidedly old-school yarn – with a bit of a sting in it’s tale. You see said kid has lost all faith in the spirit of Christmas and just wishes his family were ‘like how they used to be’ and then suddenly, there’s a power cut, the town is blanketed in snow and something is lurking in the shadows.
For this one think Gremlins, a clear inspiration with a smattering of Critters and Poltergeist for good measure. We get demonic Gingerbread Men, a mutated jack-in-the-box and the Krampus itself; a horned, hooved and cloaked monster. I had a ball with this. It’s very 80’s in its look and feel, and the cast of mostly b-list actors (with Toni Collette of Sixth Sense and Muriel’s Wedding fame) all do a good job of portraying their caricature-styled roles. Along with a fun animated flashback to when one character first met the titular demon, this is packed with energy and creativity. The reasoning behind why shit-goes-down initially seemed a bit ‘really?’, and that final scene felt like a cop-out. And yes, it could have been scarier (it still managed to be creepy in the right places) and more violent … but as a fairly audience-friendly horror this still managed to deliver a quality evening’s viewing that’s worth checking out Christmas or not.
Verdict: 4 /5