It’s finally here! The fifth annual Christmas in July Blogathon has begun. From now until July 25th, the DMR will be celebrating Christmas in the warmest month of the year (at least in the northern hemisphere). There has been such a wonderful and wide variety of entries this year from many great bloggers and I can’t wait for you to read them all. Starting us off is Tom from Plain, Simple Tom Reviews. If you don’t know Tom, he reviews all kinds of movies and television series. His tastes are wide so there’s bound to be something there you’ll enjoy. Tom brings with him his review of the Christmas horror Krampus. Alright, I’ve talked long enough, time to see what Tom as to say!
It’s July and we here in the UK have had a fair amount of very hot weather – a real heatwave – so what better time is there to celebrate a wintery Christmas, eh? Because we are supposed to keep the Christmas spirit alive for the whole year, are we not?
A few years ago, I contributed a post on this annual blogathon that celebrated my favourite Xmas films and TV specials but this year, I thought I would chip in with a review of a Christmas film that I hadn’t seen before – one that I actually kinda wanted to see when it was on in the cinema but for some reason didn’t get around to. It was also a chance to get it off my Netflix watchlist, since it had been on there for a while (I’m also incredibly lucky because when I agreed to take part in this here blogathon, I learned that Krampus only had a few days left on the ‘flix. So I was incredibly fortunate to catch it before it disappeared!)
Krampus begins a few days before Christmas and focuses on the Engel family who are preparing for the arrival of their extended family; son Max still believes in Santa but after an awkward family dinner where his ghastly cousins, aunt and uncle mercilessly ridicule his beliefs, he rips up his letter to Santa and casts the pieces out into the snowy night. But soon after, an unexplained blizzard hits, the neighbourhood left without power or phone signal, and the Engel family soon begin to realise that they are being hunted by a dangerous, malevolent creature and his terrible minions. The family grandmother soon tells them that the creature is Krampus – a demonic beast who has come to punish them all for losing the Christmas spirit.
On the positive side, Krampus certainly is a fine choice if you want to put on an alternative Christmas film (triple bill with Die Hard and Tangerine, anyone?) and, being a blend of horror and your traditional Christmas film, it sure is different and is something decent to just have on during the holidays. On the Christmas side of things, there’s enough good feeling to be found as, after the opening few scenes which are all about the greed, avarice, consumerism and anger that comes into play at that particular time of year, we see the strong bond growing within the family as they all team up against the horrific evil, the parental figures “guard their flock”, and they come to realise just how important their family is.
The film also doesn’t take itself too seriously and in a change from all the warm and fuzzy Yuletide features, there are tons of f-bombs thrown around to ensure that this is a holiday film with some bite. We also have that wicked, macabre sense of humour when the minions attack and so Krampus clearly isn’t afraid to get a little bit silly and there are plenty of outrageous laughs to be found within.
As for the negatives, I’d say that there are certain long periods of time where the familial bond is built up, with loads of heart-to-hearts, but the problem is that there is perhaps too much “family stuff” so that results in too much of a leisurely pace, stretches of it too uneventful and uninteresting. And while Krampus is a decent film, it’s not exactly extraordinary and not a film that will stick with you or get you to make a tradition out of watching it every year; it’s worth a watch but it doesn’t have much in terms of longevity. Also, the ending is a little rushed and at the very end, all the characters just end up sacrificing themselves for no proper reason.
The acting is good across the board and Adam Scott, Toni Colette, Allison Tolman and young Emjay Anthony get into the spirit of things brilliantly. On a technical level, things are alright but it’s sometimes hard to see what’s going on in many exterior scenes and the animated parts are so-so, not exactly Pixar standard. But then again, the CGI and puppetry is only a small part of the film and it shouldn’t matter as long as you get behind all the silliness.
There are tons of films that Krampus shares similarities with – right at the beginning, the film is incredibly similar to Home Alone as both films feature a large extended family filled with ungrateful, rude people who the main child wishes away and even the film’s music and the house the characters live in is almost identical in both films! The visiting family also brings to mind National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (the uncle is essentially Randy Quaid), the ending is (briefly) reminiscent of films like A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life and scenes involving Krampus’ minions are in the spirit of Gremlins, Small Soldiers, possibly Night of the Living Dead, and the work of Tim Burton.
So overall, Krampus is a nice little alternative Christmas film full of family togetherness but also some wickedly dark humour and plenty of swearing that will add a little something different to the holiday season. Try having it on this December.
And as for who I’d want to invite to our little party? Someone who I’d like to meet under the mistletoe this year? Well, I’m going for an actress whose career is on the rise having shone in films like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Thoroughbreds and Ready Player One, someone who I’ve seen a lot of love for on Twitter (even though *I* saw her first!!) and who is simply a very talented young actress – surely on course for even bigger things. Plus, she’s beautiful and has those big brown eyes that I’m oh so fond of.
It’s Olivia Cooke.
Thank you Drew for hosting this blogathon and Merry Christmas in six months, everyone!
Psst, it’s five months until Christmas, not six. I’m not sure why it’s done that way. I guess ‘Christmas in July’ has a better ring to it than ‘Christmas in June.’
In any case, it is my pleasure, Tom. and a thank you for joining in. 🙂 I greatly enjoyed Olivia Cooke in Ready Player One so it will be great to see her at our party.
This is just the first review of the day. Later today, a Christmas in July Blogathon newcomer makes their debut with a review of one of my personal favorite non-traditional Christmas films (that’s not Die Hard).
Until next time, cheers!