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WEEKEND REVIEW OF KRAMPUS

year: 2015
The surprisingly entertaining KRAMPUS has a lot of BLOOD BEACH, TREMORS, PUPPET MASTER, EVIL DEAD, DEAD-ALIVE, GREMLINS and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (especially the book) to spawn its perpetual insanity. Although it begins with a rather intentionally silly and fun opening credit sequence seeming straight out of CHRISTMAS VACATION or something goofier like JINGLE ALL THE WAY. And the entire film's promotion is misleading. Like a sort of dark Christmas comedy, which it is, but the eventual body count horror aspect is downright gruesome and, best yet, some of the larger monsters are (or really look like) actual costumed creatures unlike so much CGI spilling out into the spook genre nowadays.

Adam Scott
Plot centers on a shy little boy who takes Christmas for granite, destroying a letter meant for Santa, and for good reason. His twice-removed family, visiting his rural, lonesome, snowy homestead, couldn't be more obnoxious, including a blunt uncle who's a cross between Randy Quaid and any gun nut that's impossible to argue with. Throw in two fat girl twin cousins and their fatter brother and... To get into all the characters would waste time. Let's just say that young cool dad Adam Scott really fits into the rhythm of the thing, and puts more than his usual hipster mellow as he, once a horde of monsters are conjured up on Christmas Eve, has to be the man of the family. His wimp to warrior progression is well done, and son Max, played by Emjay Anthony, also becomes braver than usual while comic relief goes to David Koechner as the aforementioned Right Wing uncle, and there's a wise German grandmother (Krista Stadler) who all really carry the film... Or rather, are carried by the eclectic creatures with evil, ugly, sinister agendas that, during the entire second half, don't let up. That's not to say the pace drags until that point. The build-up is just as intriguing in this gift under the Christmas tree you thought was a sweater but turned out to be... something else, including a bonus old school animated backstory that's really neat.

RATING: ****
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