Krampus: The Reckoning is a challenging movie to review. Not because it’s complex or has a mix of both distinctly positive and negative elements that have to be weeded out and judge fairly. Krampus: The Reckoning is a challenging movie to review for no other reason than because it’s not abundantly clear whether or not it should really qualify as a “movie” in the first place. It is a horror film so shoddily produced and rudimentarily conceived that the idea that any mentally sound person would purchase it, ironically or otherwise, is laughable. It’s a crude, formless imitation of a film, one that is a chore to endure, lacking even the hammy “so bad it’s good” quality that many d-grade movies manage to sustain.
Krampus is loosely based of the character of German folklore who operates as something of an anti-St. Nicholas. In the film Krampus is portrayed as a violent (horrendously CGI’d) spiritual entity, who operates as a sort of jinn, coming at the call of a young girl who wishes to dispatch of those she who have wronged her, or she deems “bad”. It’s not the worst premise in the horror book, but it’s connection on to the mythical figure upon which it is ostensibly based is tenuous at best. In practice, the “Krampus” labeling seems to be more of a wishful, but deeply misguided attempt to cash in on the recent surge of popularity the character has seen in popular culture.
In most cases it would be prudent to point out a horror film’s individual failings, but Krampus: The Reckoning is a categorical failure to the point that such meticulous analysis would be giving it far too much credit (and would be a waste of my time, and yours). This isn’t tacky, flaccid, studio-made fare like last year’s insufferable Ouija, this is more of an ugly, budget-less, ambition-less community college student film. To describe it as “not scary” is an effectively useless statement; Krampus never approaches being scary, or funny, or even vaguely interesting for that matter.
What it is is an cinematic eyesore so devoid of merit or charm that even the most charitable viewer will be left exponentially empty-handed once it’s over. It’s not a “terrible movie” in the same sense that putting a slab of raw meat over a slice of cheap white bread isn’t a “terrible sandwich”; it’s just not a sandwich. In short: you’ll want to steer clear of the Krampus, and steer way clear of this film.