I recently went to a screening of It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s one of my favorite movies, perfect in my eyes. There’s a clear line from Capra to Charlie Kaufman, and I think It’s A Wonderful Life is the prime example. The whole point of the movie is to love your fellow man, especially around Christmastime.
Unfortunately, the audience at this screening caused me to loathe my fellow man. Screaming children, constant phone use, and one guy who kept saying Trump every time the villain came onscreen. Yeah, we get it, the old decrepit ruthless businessman squeezing every penny out of the good townsfolk is kind of like Trump. I would have never guessed it otherwise without the constant interruption.
This terrible Christmas experience really made me yearn for a movie to counterbalance all of that saccharine garbage. If you too are bogged down by all of this Christmas, whether because of a terrible movie audience or some type of shoving fest while Christmas shopping, then perfect for us, Krampus exists.
Krampus takes its cues from an old Central European myth, a companion to Saint Nicholas. Except, instead of rewarding good children with gifts, Krampus punishes the naughty, with coal or beatings. The movie elaborates more on the myth, including some terrifying elves and evil toys. The design of these creatures in this film is perhaps its greatest asset. There’s no cheap CGI here, it’s mostly puppets and costumes. It is very reminiscent of Labyrinth or a Guillermo del Toro film. So seeing it on the big screen would provide the best option for catching all of those details.
The movie itself is about a kid wishing for that traditional Christmas nonsense about his family being happy and goodwill towards his fellow men, but whatever. Krampus comes and shuts him up real well. Although not short on laughs, this is a horror movie through and through and boasts an impressive cast, including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and Allison Tolman.
So, take a break from all the feel-good Christmas garbage, and watch a goat monster terrorize a family. Maybe you too will learn a little something about the true meaning of Christmas: vengeance.
dir. Michael Dougherty
Screens Saturday, 12/17, 11:59 PM @ Coolidge Corner