Krampus

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Krampus Movie Poster Image
Christmas horror comedy is dark but has genuine good cheer.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 98 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 37 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Key themes include believing in the Christmas spirit and finding way to come together and love your family, despite differences and conflicts. And there's a plea for better understanding between neighbors and strangers. But the movie has a somewhat dark ending that doesn't really let characters learn this lesson.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Max is an extremely kind-hearted boy who truly believes in the spirit of Christmas as well as in the love of his family; he hopes that they can all come together and love and support one another despite their differences (his letter to Santa is filled with wishes for his family members, and nothing for himself). Eventually they do begin helping one another ... but is it too late?

Violence

Demons, monsters attacking. Children in peril. Fighting, arguing, biting. Guns and shooting. Manhandling, taser gun. Man frozen in terror. Christmas tree on fire. Nail gun shooting. Icicle stabbed through a monster's eye.

Sex

A married couple hugs and shows affection for each other.

Language

One use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--holes," "ass," "bitch," "screw," "crapper," "turd," "nuts," "crap," "goddamn," "godforsaken," and "Lord almighty." Character referred to as "Maxi Pad."

Consumerism

Hummer vehicle.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An adult character's drinking is played comically; she has a hangover on Christmas morning, and she gives a sip of peppermint Schnaps to a kid. A man pours whisky in his coffee cup. Reference to "mom popping Xanax." Teen shows a Christmas-themed bong.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Krampus is a Christmas-themed horror movie that blends scares with humor and genuine warmth. The main character is a boy who believes in Christmas and in family but temporarily loses heart. Although the story has a fairly dark, somewhat ambiguous ending that may be upsetting for sensitive viewers, fans of "alternative" holiday fare are likely to enjoy it. Scary/violent elements include monsters and fighting, guns and shooting, as well as children in peril and some shocking/frightening imagery. Language includes one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bitch," and "a--hole" (the latter spoken by a child). There's some adult drinking, mainly played for humor, as well as a child taking a sip of peppermint Schnapps (given to him by an adult) and a quick reference to a teen smoking pot (he holds up a Christmas-themed bong). Sex isn't an issue, but a married couple does show affection to each other.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 year old Written byLMRH December 5, 2015

Good for adults but not the little ones

Krampus was surprisingly a pretty good movie. There were a few slow parts but the majority of the movie was entertaining. It was comical in many parts...espec... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 and 16 year old Written byorchidflame December 11, 2015

Good for reminding people what's more important around the holidays.

My children and I, along with many other friends and family, all really liked this film. I feel though, a bit cheesy, then dark, it had a few good messages for... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 7, 2015

Funny, sometimes scary Christmas horror film is very very dark.

This film, representing some traits of Gremlins, is not for the easily scared. A scary scene near the start, where a girl finds a man frozen alive in his car. T... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 5, 2015

Very well done Christmas movie.

Parents need to know that Krampus is not your typical Charlie Brown or elf. It is like a Christmas carol that got knocked up about 5 notches in scariness and in... Continue reading

What's the story?

During a stressful Christmas season, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is struggling to maintain his belief in Santa Claus. When his loudmouth relatives come to visit, Max's nasty cousins find his letter to Santa and tease him at the dinner table. In tears, Max rips up the letter and sends the pieces out into the winter night. Unfortunately, this brings on the other spirit of Christmas, the dark shadow of St. Nicholas known as Krampus. In the midst of a blizzard, Krampus and his evil helpers descend upon the neighborhood. It's up to Max's dad (Adam Scott), mom (Toni Collette), uncle (David Koechner), and aunt (Allison Tolman) to set aside their differences and band together. But only Max's grandmother (Krista Stadler) knows the demon's true nature.

Is it any good?

While the idea of a Christmas-themed horror movie might sound strange, KRAMPUS has a very appealing mix of humor and scares. It also has a pretty dark ending, but before that comes, there's undeniable warmth and holiday spirit. Director/co-writer Michael Dougherty also made the very good Halloween movie Trick 'r Treat (2007), and he doesn't disappoint here. Krampus starts with a cynical touch and some big laughs, but it quickly finds its heart in Max, who truly wants to believe in Santa Claus -- and in his family. The movie sets the family members up as comic opposites but finds the good in both sides.

When the scary stuff comes, the monsters are menacing, but they also have a fun quality, not unlike those in the Gremlins movies. The movie sometimes gets lost in all its monster fights, but then the ominous, somewhat ambiguous ending ties everything together. Krampus may be too much for sensitive viewers, but lovers of alternative holiday viewing will rejoice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Krampus' violence. How intense is it? What effect did it have? What's shown, and what's not shown? Which is scarier, and why? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Some of the movie's adult characters seem to drink excessively. Do they enjoy it? If not, why do you think they're drinking? Is it portrayed as funny or serious? What message does that send?

  • Why does Max believe in Santa Claus? Why do people make fun of him for loving Christmas?

  • Where does the Krampus myth come from? How old is it? What might its purpose have been? Does the movie seem truthful to the actual legend?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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