You have some schmutz right there.
Holiday horror movies can be a lot of fun, and the sophomore effort from writer-director Michael Dougherty (his first film is one of Halloween horror’s best recent entries, Trick ‘r Treat) has all the hallmarks of a new classic in this particular subgenre—one I personally adore. A family led by Adam Scott and Toni Collette must not only contend with their horrible relations (led by David Koechner and Allison Tolman of “Fargo” season one); they also must survive the evil holiday spirit known as Krampus.
You say you like the comical family dysfunction of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Krampus has the gags for you. Koechner and Tolman’s Uncle Howard and Aunt Linda, with their four kids plus grouchy Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell), are perfect proxies for Eddie and Catherine. Prefer the wicked shenanigans of Gremlins? Krampus has the gifts for you, with evil little gingerbread men, a fanged teddy bear, a demonic angel and the most terrifying jack-in-the-box ever. Its detached lower jaw will haunt your nightmares.
Evil Santa movies have been all the rage recently, and Krampus is the most successful of the bunch. Both the Dutch Sint (aka Saint) and the Finnish Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale have their moments, but Krampus works better as a whole than either of those movies. Still, I would recommend all three to anyone seeking a seasonal horror flick. (Naturally, Black Christmas is still king, though I am fond of the colorfully disturbing remake). Horror fans, do not be turned off by the PG-13 rating; Krampus pushes its teen- and, consequently, box office-friendly rating. This horrific holiday gift will not disappoint.