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Krampus (4 stars)

Toni Collette stars in a festive comedy horror that's bloody good fun

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Krampus

If you’ve ever wanted to see Toni Collette get tongued by a vicious, flying angel doll then this twisted remix of the traditional Christmas movie from Trick ‘r Treat director Michael Dougherty is the festive film for you.

It opens by cynically commenting on consumerism with a crowd of Black Friday-style shoppers going for it. But Krampus is also full of heart and devilishly brutal, playing out in the same dark vein as Gremlins or Home Alone, with lashings of slapstick humour. Dougherty harks back to the 80s and early 90s with gleeful abandon, lovingly paying homage to Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg and John Hughes along the way and it’s a whole heap of bloody fun.

When young Max (Emjay Anthony) gets fed up of his feuding family he tears up his letter to Santa, throws it out the window and accidentally summons a demon from the underworld. Collette and Adam Scott play the uptight parents pitted superbly against David Koechner and Allison Tolman’s less reserved couple and their visiting trashy family, including two camouflage-attired sisters who recall The Lost BoysFrog brothers. Koechner aces the gung-ho a-hole role and Krista Stadler as secretive grandmother Omi – who quietly sharpens kitchen implements while everyone else is losing their shit – steals many a scene.

The creature design is wonderfully realised by Weta Workshop who have created a whole host of creepy monsters crawling out of the woodwork, who look like they’ve just escaped from the bedroom of Toy Story’s Sid Phillips. You catch glimpses of Krampus throughout but Dougherty knows not to play his hand too early on, only showing its full grotesque form in the latter half of the film. And the sound design is weighty and effective, with the jingle of a bell morphing into a terrifying tune and the mischievous giggles and scuffling gingerbread men resounding through the house like a nightmarish echo.

General release from Fri 4 Dec.

Krampus

  • 4 stars
  • 2015
  • US
  • 98 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Michael Dougherty
  • Written by: Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
  • Cast: Allison Tolman, Emjay Anthony, Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Stefania Owen
  • UK release: 4 December 2015

When young Max (Anthony) gets fed up of his feuding family he tears up his letter to Santa and throws it out the window, thereby accidentally summoning a demon from the underworld. Full of heart but devilishly brutal, with wonderful creature design and lashings of slapstick humour, it's a heap of bloody fun.

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