When I stumbled across Krampus: The Reckoning I have to say that I made a few assumptions. And those assumptions were all pretty spot on, as it turned out. It's a very low-budget film, it's not full of great acting, and it uses the idea of the Krampus to spin a tale that wouldn't be of interest to anyone other than people who have to torture themselves by watching anything that can provide a break from the monotony of the non-stop selection of Hallmark movies available during the Christmas holiday season.
Amelia Haberman plays a young girl named Zoe, taken into a care facility after her foster parents are killed. Her foster parents weren't very nice people, so Zoe isn't too upset by their deaths, but Dr. Rachel Stewart (played by Monica Engesser) soon realises that there may be something more to things, something that more directly involves Zoe and the little Krampus figure that she likes to keep in her possession.
Here's how I imagine this movie was developed.
Robert Conway (writer and director of the movie) had some beers and started to talk to his brother, Owen. I'm going to assume that Owen is his brother anyway, given the credits that he has in Robert's filmography.
RC: "You know what, everyone enjoys Christmas movies, and horror fans dig horror films set at Christmas. You can have lots of great moments and killer Santas."
OC: "That's true, you could maybe work on a film like that."
RC: "But everyone knows Santa. You know what everyone doesn't know about? The Krampus."
OC: "Rob, I am pretty sure everyone knows about Krampus nowadays. Back in the early '80s it was much lesser-known, sure, but now it's pretty common knowledge. The internet and all that, dude."
RC: "No, no, no, they think they know about it but they don't, like, KNOW about it. I could do a film that makes use of that figure, setting him as a vengeful spirit unleashed at times by a child. Yes."
OC: "Okayyyyyy, how are you going to show him in the movie though? Guy in a big suit? Some of the effects might be a bit pricey."
RC: "Hell no, we'll just use computer effects. Everyone uses computer effects nowadays. They can make anything look great."
OC: "If you spend enough. You can't get good results without spending a fair bit."
RC: "No, no, trust me, Owen, computer guys are out there, falling over one another to get jobs in the industry. We'll place an ad, go for the cheapest, but BEST, we can get. It will look awesome."
OC: "I'm not too sure about that."
RC: "Yes, it will look awesome. And we'll have a couple of scenes of gratuitous nudity. Folks love that. And a cop who drinks a bit too much and has his personal life going to shit. And there'll even be a big build up at the end to stuff that will blow everyone's minds."
OC: "Anything else? Like decent characters, a solid script, something new you can bring to the table to sell it to everyone?"
RC: "Not yet, but I'm sure it will come. You can help me flesh this baby out, and I'll even give you another acting role. What do you say, huh?"
OC: "Urgh, it sounds terrible, but you're still my most prolific employer so I say yes."
And the end results reflects all of that conversation. Bad acting, bad CGI, a terrible ending that Conway obviously thought worked great, and a general dearth of imagination throughout. There's a basic level of technical competence, I suppose, but nothing to help the film do more than scrape just above the very bottom of the barrel. At least it's not snooze-inducingly dull, which gets it another charitable point.
You can buy the movie here.
Americans can buy it here.