What happens when you wanna cash-in by exploiting the latest fad in the christmas horror subgenre, but you don’t have enough time in order to write it from scratch and push it out of the door in order to maximize exposure?
I don’t know, but Krampus The Reckoning seem like it should have that type of production history, because it has the opposite problem of most crappy Krampus, as they often don’t do anything interesting with the lore of the Krampus myth, or overall anything good even if they – so to say – stick to the canon. This movie instead feel like they did a last minute rewrite in order to make it about Krampus, when really this could have been about any other generic daemon or evil entity.
Then again, if you’re like me and decide to actually watch a movie with such a low metascore AND one whose DVD decides to force you to sit through trailers for Crying Wolf and The Ouja Exorcism… you’re probably adding those to the “to do” list. At these this one doesn’t force you to sit through 6 trailers before you can even reach the main menu, small mercy, but still.
As i was saying, this could have been any generic “evil kid murder power” horror movie, but it was rewritten at the last second, and starts with a granny telling their niece a scary story about the Krampus, in front of the fireplace and with the room furnished with Christmas decor. I’m gonna stop you there: NO, sadly, there no Shyamalan twist that the granny was the devil in disguise or some stupid shit like that. I wish, it would have made this whole prologue of some purpose, so of course it’s pointless.
So, instead Krampus: The Reckoning is about Zoe, your run-of-the-mill creepy young girl, into collecting dead animals, staring, and collecting creepy dolls, the basics. Among these she has a lil Krampus plush-voodoo doll thingie (complete with plastic chains), which she uses to summon the Krampus in order to exact revenge on her mother, which is into booger sugar, handing her heavy chores, and fuckin random men. So she does, and for god measure she makes Krampus kill mom’s fuckbuddy too, “Diego Montoya”. Later the police finds the charred bodies, and Zoe is brought into a hospital, with a child psychologist trying to get from info from her as the only survivor.
Yet again, it’s one of those Z grade horror movies when they couldn’t bother to even do an acceptable sound mixing, so i ended up not understanding much, and after a while i didn’t even bother to rewind in order to try understand, hoping that the actors would at least enunciate clearly the fuckin lines, which isn’t always a given, it’s even worse than usual because it’s all over the place. So yet, i eventually gave up trying to understand what the fuck the bald cop character was trying to mumble, or trying to raise the TV audio, because Zoe’s child actor at one point stopped being “stoned creepy girl 76” and just screamed. Ugh.
On the other hand, it’s not really a crippling issue as you’d imagine, as the movie is fond of re-estabilishing thing already estabilished and explained, in a desperate – and ultimately disastrous – attempt to make you care about these insipid stock characters, but mostly to make this thing reach the 85 minute mark. But then again this is a movie where you need exposition in order to make sense of previous scenes, so badly directed and written they are, like the one where the hospital worker (looking like the missing link between Carl Brutananadilewski and James “AVGN” Rolfe) is at home, checking out what looks like a forum on the PC before is killed by the Krampus.
Why? Because he was a pedophile with terabytes of child porn on his hard drive… wish the scene told me that or gave any fuckin hint (it didn’t, i had to freezeframe the image to see he was browsing a chat on “Dark Sites Portal”), instead of having to wait for random exposition so i can make some sense out of that.
And still, Krampus The Reckoning is so bad that it lacks even the shockingly bad, senseless and surprising scenes you kinda expect from a bad horror movie. It doesn’t even have that, it’s just piles and piles of boring bullshit, often with the narration throwing things at the viewer way too fast, so he can’t dwell and realize how many of them are just farfetched and random.
I hold off in talking about the Krampus before now, and the reason is because it’s pathetic, really pathetic looking, and even IF i didn’t see it already on the IMDB page of the movie, i would have been disappointed anyway. You expect a demon with some goat-like features, and you expect bad CG from this rim of Z-grade film. I didn’t expect it to look like a rejected Quake or Painkiller character model, so utterly boring and generic, it doesn’t look like a Krampus, or even acts like it.
Or even act, as he barely just stands in place, looks at place until the people start catching fire with horrible effects, why bother touching them or trying to interact with anything in the shot? Not like it matters, because both digital and pratical effects are horrendous, i could say “i’ve seen worse” ( i really do have), but it will make your expectation soar to unrealistic heights, even for this stratum of shitty Krampus movies.
But i will give this to Robert Conway, Krampus: The Reckoning, despite being a Krampus movie only to exploit this subgenre by what looks like a last minute rewrite….. it’s still better than Krampus: The Christmas Devil, as this one does have an ending that eventually makes the story conclude and make some sense (and they avoid doing sequel bait at the very last second, they somehow resisted the urge, for what it’s worth), and it looks more like a movie done with some actual production instead of shot with some friends in your hometown with the budget found in the piggie bank.
Still boring as shit and not worth of even a 3/10, make no mistake.