After living in his brother Santa Claus’s shadow for so long, Krampus, the black sheep of the family is getting his turn in the spotlight. First as a central character in the likes of A Christmas Horror Story. And the title beastie in the film from Michael Dougherty (Trick R Treat, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters).
But mostly he’s been confined to lower budget efforts like Krampus: The Reckoning. This was actually the first of three films on the subject that Robert Conway has been involved with. This somehow did well enough to spawn Krampus Unleashed and Krampus Origins.
Zoe Weaver (Amelia Haberman, Expo, Eminence Hill) keeps moving from foster home to foster home. She has no choice really because her foster parents keep meeting nasty ends. It couldn’t have anything to do with that strange doll she has. The one she calls Krampus. Nah, that’s just folktales.
Social worker Dr. Stewart (Monica Engesser, The Possession Diaries) enlists Detective O’Connor (James Ray) to help her unravel Zoe’s past and all the deaths connected to it. Of course, this puts them on the naughty list.
Krampus: The Reckoning is a mess. Part of the problem is the Krampus is barely in the film, either by action or appearance. It’s mostly about detective work and solving the mystery of the foster parent’s deaths. And we know the answer from the opening scenes. There is a twist nobody will see coming at the end, but by that point, nobody will care either.
The other problem is that the Krampus is in it at all. I know I frequently rant about bad CGI, but this is some bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. Even by 2015 standards, it’s awful. And the actual design of Krampus is very weak. It looks anorexic, or maybe it has a meth habit. If you’re going to go the CGI route at left make the creature look impressive. The little bit of gore in Krampus: The Reckoning is passable but that’s not nearly enough to carry the film.
Krampus: The Reckoning could have been an OK film with a bit more budget and a script polish. But as it stands it’s awful. How it got released let alone spawn a trilogy of films is a bigger mystery than the one in the film.
Krampus: The Reckoning is available to stream and on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment.