Director: Jason Hull
Writer: Jason Hull, A.J. Leslie, Darin Foltz
Producer: Jason Hull
Stars: Bill Oberst Jr., Rich Goteri, A.J. Leslie, Mike Mili Jay Dobyns, Erica Soto, Jeremy Sidun, Darin Foltz, Angelina Leigh, Brad Weaver, Paul Ferm
A detective troubled by his own childhood abduction connects a series of murders and disappearances to the legend of Krampus.
With Michael Dougherty’s big-budget “Krampus” (review here) bringing in big bucks for a big studio, it’s no wonder 2015 saw not one, but two low-rent DTV knockoffs looking to cash in on consumer confusion. One of the two is “Krampus: The Reckoning,” an all-around awful flick currently sitting on IMDb with a pitiful 2.3 user rating. The other title is “Krampus: The Christmas Devil,” originally a 2013 release regurgitated to piggyback on 2015’s Krampus craze. Astonishingly, “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” scores even lower on IMDb with a 1.7 rating. If only more users contributed to the count, the movie would qualify for the Top Five lowest-rated titles on the entire site.
My own review scored “Krampus: The Reckoning” (review here) at just 15 out of 100. Could it really be possible for “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” to be worse?
Yes. It could and it is.
“Krampus: The Christmas Devil” may not qualify for IMDb’s list of all-time worst films, but it certainly qualifies for mine. Nothing about the movie earns the slightest courtesy of serious discussion. Its slapdash amateurism is top-to-bottom terrible in every regard. I can’t even have fun being sarcastic with my commentary because it is an insult to my time being burdened with writing about the movie in the first place.
The only positive point is I care so little about this review, I don’t need to bother doing a second draft. It’s not like the writers did one for their script.
Let’s do an obligatory story summary so we can get this over with asap. Detective Jeremy Duffin is haunted by memories of being tied in a sack and thrown into a lake as a child. Krampus had Jeremy on his naughty list and the creature was acting on an abduction order directly from Santa. Jeremy made it out of the water alive, but years later, he can’t shake the feeling that his case connects to several holiday season murders and disappearances in the area. Krampus is at it again, and this time-
Forget it. I don’t want to think about it anymore.
Name any element that goes into making a movie. Acting. Writing. Lighting. Editing. Music. Anything at all.
Now name the most unflattering adjective you can think of. Don’t hold back. No matter what you come up with, that word applies to everything you listed above and still isn’t harsh enough to describe “Krampus: The Christmas Devil.”
Stretching to find something positive to say about a movie undeserving of compliments, there are two arguable bright spots. First, the story is actually about Krampus. The Christmas Devil is interchangeable with any monster of choice in “Krampus: The Reckoning” and “Krampus Unleashed” (review here). Here, Krampus’ role at least relates to his legend.
Second, Bill Oberst, Jr. delivers one of his trademark psycho creep performances as a killer pedophile, and it is effective at eliciting discomfort. Unfortunately, Oberst’s brief, last act inclusion is squandered when the movie needs much more than merely these three watchable minutes.
“Krampus: The Christmas Devil” is otherwise irredeemable. It doesn’t even have ironic entertainment value as a Rifftrax watch.
An epileptic camera that doesn’t have time for a tripod is routinely fighting to stay in focus. Gore effects are created by squeezing red Jell-O. A fight scene where four feet of space exists between a punch and the person runs its action at half speed. “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” is what happens when people with no experience, no training, and no professional ambition make a movie for no other reason than they have access to a camera and can find its Power button.
If it isn’t abundantly clear already, let me summarize in no uncertain terms, “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” is backyard DIY dreck unfit for public consumption. Yet against all odds, the film somehow found distribution onto VOD channels as well as a physical media release. Worse, it also found the chutzpah to charge people money for subjecting themselves to this torture.
Review Score: 10