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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Review: Low expectations for ‘Krampus’ lead to success

Krampus+Movie+Review
Photo by Via CREATIVE COMMONS
Krampus Movie Review

Comedy and horror can co-exist, and “Krampus” proves it.
Pulling off a successful horror-comedy requires a keen sense of direction, craft and tone that few directors ever develop. It requires surprises on both sides of the fence, jokes and jumps.  
Sam Raimi’s filmography is full of successful genre cross-overs (“Evil Dead 2” and “Drag Me To Hell” are personal favorites), and even more mainstream films like “Jurassic World” or “The Martian” include moments of laughter alongside moments of terror. But a stigma hangs around the comedy-horror genre, and it’s the same problem many share with horror films in general: It’s not scary enough. Or, for comedy, it’s not funny enough. Comedy and horror, more than any other genres, depend on the subjectivity of taste.
“Krampus” isn’t as absurd a film concept as it initially appears. Writer-director Michael Dougherty made his directorial debut with “Trick ’r Treat,” (2007) a horror film centered on Halloween whose low budget and seasonal pandering guaranteed a cult following. It seems Dougherty is attempting the same low-risk, low-reward work with “Krampus,” just with a different holiday and different tropes.
Speaking of tropes, all the regulars for Christmas are here. The rude, rowdy relatives, the crumbling family, the lone believer. Everything is ripe for a disaster, which is exactly what happens when young Max destroys his letter to Santa and inadvertently summons the devilish Krampus.
The film unfolds fairly slowly and the majority of it is spent inside the family’s house as a blizzard separates them from the rest of the world. The first hour or so is completely scare-free, with seasoned-yet-underrated vet David Koechner lifting most of the comedy chops as the repulsive brother-in-law Howard. None of the material is quote-worthy, but I found myself entertained throughout.
“Krampus” starts to shift gears when Max begins noticing snowmen on the front lawn and mysterious packages arrive for the family. Then, the familiar “one-by-one” trope begins playing out as the power turns off, everyone loses cell service and family members start disappearing.
Tonally, the film kept me guessing. Its tongue-in-cheek humor obfuscates any sense of gravity to its characters’ disappearances, and its PG-13 rating limits how visual it can be. Most scares are off-screen, just around the corner, on the roof. However, one scene in particular cements just how dangerous Krampus and his minions are, and it had me wishing the film was rated R. The film has a very bright tone, so its darker moments come out of left field. If this had been further emphasized, it could’ve been effective, but as it stands it feels more uneven than engineered.
The film’s biggest flaw is its plot — or lack of one. Once Krampus is introduced and the family is isolated, there isn’t much for them to do. They can either stay in the house to wait or venture out into the snow. They do both, repeatedly, and it never quite goes anywhere further than that. There isn’t much in terms of character development either, which leaves the film rather soulless.
Ultimately, it’s forgettable fun. Die-hard horror fans will surely latch on to its decent practical effects and seasonal inversion, and the average viewer might catch a laugh or two, but it won’t blow you away. And that’s alright, because not every movie needs to change the world. “Krampus” entertains, and it then it ends.
Mason Morgan is an English senior and life & arts writer for The Battalion.

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