There are many bad words I can use to describe “Krampus.” Ugly and Unfunny spring to mind, but I’m going to wait until the end to let you know the one that I think best describes it.

The plot sees young Max (Emjay Anthony) miserable at Christmas. His parents (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) aren’t happy, his aunt and uncle (Allison Tolman and David Koechner) and their whole side of the family are jerks, everybody’s mad at everybody, and nobody believes in Santa. Max curses the holiday and unleashes the Christmas demon Krampus, who terrorizes the neighborhood and starts abducting the family one by one.

This movie is Ugly, but not in a good way. Which is to say that it’s not scary. Krampus and his minions have cheap faces that I wanted to rip apart, but only because they look like they need to be scrapped, not because they seem like a threat.

The movie is Unfunny because it thinks it’s being original by letting us know that people can be mean around Christmas, in contrast to the harmonious image of the season. I’ve been hearing cynical Christmas jokes all my life, and this movie brings nothing new to the table (there are barely, and I mean barely, enough funny lines to earn this movie a half star from me).

“Krampus” bills itself as a Horror Comedy, and it fails at both genres. It’s a movie about people you won’t like, but who don’t deserve their fate just enough that you can’t relish in bad things happening to them. Nobody should be happy with anything that happen in this move. The bad word that sums up this movie best is Unhappy.


“Krampus” is rated PG-13 for sequences of horror violence/terror, language and some drug material. Its running time is 98 minutes.

By Bob Garver