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Cinema Dispatch: Krampus

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Krampus and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Michael Dougherty

There really hasn’t been a good Christmas horror movie since Gremlins, has there?  I’ve heard good things about Rare Exports, but that didn’t even get a decent sized theater release here in the US.  That’s all about to change… maybe, with this horror film about the holiday season’s canonical version of The Grinch!  It certainly has an uphill battle considering how hard it is to walk that line between scary and being hilarious (intentionally anyway) but there’s some strong talent behind this film so there’s a good chance they can actually pull it off!  Will this movie manage to be a fun horror comedy that becomes a holiday staple, or is this a giant piece of cinematic coal that we’re being punished with for giving War Room so much money?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about a family who gets together on Christmas despite the fact that no one likes anyone.  You’ve got Tom and Sarah (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) who are the parents of Beth and Max (Stefania LaVie Owen and Emjay Anthony) and they’re playing host to Toni’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman), her husband Howard (David Koechner), and their three kids Stevie, Jordan, and Howie Jr (Lolo Owen, Queenie Samuel, and Maverick Flack).  Oh, and there’s a baby in there somewhere along with bitter sardonic Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell).  Wait, am I forgetting anyone?  THAT’S RIGHT!!  Tom’s mother Omi (Krista Sadler) who will play Miss Exposition here as she knows ALL about Krampus yet doesn’t tell the family until well after the shit has hit the fan.  Anyway, as you’d expect around the holidays, tensions flare up and there’s a huge fight that causes young Max to finally give up on the Christmas spirit.  This decision makes completely responsible for what happens next and the deaths of whichever loved ones get caught in the crossfire.  A huge storm rolls in that cuts off this neighborhood from the rest of the world and takes out the power and cell phone towers.  There’s something else out there though and the family soon finds themselves besieged by Gremlins knock offs, snow monsters, and a really fucked up Jack in the Box before Krampus finally shows up to deal with this family himself.  Can they survived Yuletide massacre long enough to open their presents?  Will Max be forever haunted by the fact that his sadness (which is something that’s REALLY outside of his control) is the root cause of all this horrifying shit being rained upon them?  Is it at least as good as Santa’s Slay!?

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Even if it is, that’s some serious damning with faint praise.

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