'Krampus' Movie Review: It Feels Long, But the Ending Is Worth the Wait

Get all the details of the holiday-themed film.

ByABC News
December 5, 2015, 5:37 AM
Stefania LaVie Owen is pictured in a still from "Krampus."
Stefania LaVie Owen is pictured in a still from "Krampus."
Universal Pictures

— -- Starring Emjay Anthony, Allison Tolman and David Koechner

Rated PG-13

Three out of five stars

"Krampus" is a horror/comedy that serves as an allegory about the loss of innocence, and the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday season. Sounds like fun, right? Well, whenever killer gingerbread men are involved, it’s going to be kind of fun, at the very least.

This story starts with young Max (Emjay Anthony), who’s disappointed because his family doesn’t celebrate Christmas like it used to. In fact, nobody seems to have the Christmas spirit anymore. When we first meet him, he’s in the middle of a department store in a fistfight with a kid his age who -- spoiler alert! -- told a bunch of first-graders that Santa isn’t real.

To make matters worse, Max’s aunt Linda and uncle Howard (Allison Tolman and David Koechner) and their obnoxious kids are coming over for the holiday. Much to the chagrin of Max’s mother, Sarah (Toni Collette), her sister has brought along their alcoholic aunt (Conchata Ferrell). Creating even more tension, Max’s father, Tom (Adam Scott), doesn’t get along with Howard.

When a disillusioned Max rips up a note he wrote to Santa and tosses it out the window, it turns into an invitation to Krampus, the shadow of St. Nicholas – essentially a demon version of Santa Claus, who brings with him an apocalyptic blizzard, the aforementioned killer gingerbread men, and a few other toys with fangs and appetites for children.

This is a gifted cast with a solid writer/director in Michael Dougherty, but with a runtime of one hour and 38 minutes, "Krampus" seemed a lot longer. The humor works better than the horror here – indeed, any seasoned viewer of horror movies won’t find this remotely frightening. Still, "Krampus" is entertaining, with a decent message and a solid ending.