DreadWorld Review: Krampus: The Reckoning (2015)


After years of lying dormant, it appears as though the horror film making community has finally discovered the existence of Santa Claus' evil counterpart, Krampus. If you are not familiar with German folklore, and really who isn't well versed in German/Alpine Folklore these days, Krampus punishes the bad kids and acts as essentially as the Ying to Saint Nicholas' Yang. Often depicted as a horned, hairy, bipedal beast, Krampus has become the latest muse for may an independent horror film maker with no less than 5 current "Krampus" films in development or recently released, including one from Trick ' Treat's Mike Dougherty. Krampus: The Reckoning is one of those films, and that's about the best thing you can say about it.

Krampus: The Reckoning is the latest film from director Rob Conway. It that name rings a bell it's because he was the director of the passable found footage/alien abduction tale The Encounter (review HERE) that was released over the summer. Two films released in one year. Not too bad for Mr. Conway. Not too bad, unless you've seen Krampus: The Reckoning.

Zoe is a strange child. She introverted, quiet, and has been passed from foster family to foster family. While not connected to much, she does love one thing. She loves her dolls. Of course one of those dolls, a representation of the mythical creature The Krampus, can be used to summon the beast for the purpose of dispatching her enemies. After her latest set of foster parents are found incinerated, Zoe is placed in a children's hospital (no, not the funny one from Adult Swim) where she begins meeting with child psychologist Dr. Rachael Stewart. Before the mystery surrounding Zoe deepens and Dr. Stewart finds that there is much more between her and Zoe than just a simple parent/doctor relationship.

We're going to keep this short. Krampus: The Reckoning is a horrible mess. The acting is putrid, with one or maybe two cast members rising about "community theater" levels of performance. The Krampus itself, you know the creature in the title, looks worse than those old 70's Hanna Barbera cartoons. When you miss the technological brilliance of Thundar the Barbarian while watching a horror film in 2015, you know there is a huge issue. Perhaps because the film makers realized the creature looked like absolute garbage, it's barely used in the film. So our tension and scares are left in the hands of a child actor who seems to have gone to the Gage Creed Pet Semetary school of mean faces acting.

Another victim of the shitty looking Krampus seems to be the pacing of the film. instead of watching a cool looking Krampus ravage evil doers, we are instead treated to backstory about an alcoholic detective and his failing marriage. It turns the second act into a complete snoozefest. Which is a shame because the third act actually contains some interesting elements and a twist that, while confusing and poorly executed, is pretty good. But by the time the last 15 minutes of the film rolls around, most folks will be so far checked out nothing short of a new hidden trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens will drag them back in.


I wrote in my review for Rob Conways previous film, The Encounter, that folks should support indie films like The Encounter so talented film makers like Rob Conway don;t have to resort to using the found footage trope to get films made. Well, I apologize for that. If Krampus: The Reckoning is any indication as to what that course of action would render, maybe Conway is more suited to using the limitations imposed by found footage to his advantage.

* star out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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