‘KRAMPUS ORIGINS’ is coming November 6th just in time for the holiday season. This is the third film in the Robert Conway written Krampus trilogy and it takes things back to the beginning. Set in during the first World War, a group of soldiers find an artifact that can conjure the entity known as Krampus. When the group is killed in action the artifact is sent to the soldier’s wife who teaches at an orphanage. The perfect place for the Christmas demon to be mistakenly summoned.
Apart from the larger profile 2015 ‘Krampus’ directed by Michael Dougherty, the other films following the festive demon have been relegated to the straight-to-digital market. I do enjoy the concept of this evil entity and I feel its connections to the holiday do add a charming element. Therefore, I was interested to see what this movie would deliver in terms of weaving an origins story to this creature to see how it all started.
I did appreciate this film for the directions it took with the story-line. It built layers to the plot, and to the focal characters to generate some interest in them. It also showed an emphasis on wanting to provide substance to the legend of Krampus. There was also a clear effort shown in wanting the story to stand on its own. Without the need of routine horror tropes to be the only means of entertainment throughout the progression of the narrative.
The time-period settings were a nice addition as well and did a solid job of giving the world of this story some depth. The performances were all very capable as well. They felt natural in their various roles and delivered the dialogue with realism to provide a group of characters that ranged in ages genuine personality types. I felt all these elements helped in carrying the run-time early on.
Katie Peabody in her first full-feature film came in with a fantastic performance. She delivered a range of emotional layers to build intensity to the needed sections of the story when she was called on to do so. She had a good chemistry with the kids and she felt genuine in the role of a mentor to the orphans. The role given to her was procedural in terms of the arc her characters progressed across, but Peabody brought heart and substance to it making the persona work nicely for the needs of this story.
Admittedly the films setting itself being primarily in a dimly lit orphanage does have a familiar atmosphere to it. Some of the scenes and character dynamics lacked impact as well because they were missing some originality. This did unfortunately hinder the story from being able to easily grab the viewer, as I think it could have with a faster pace and more unique characters. As I said, I appreciated the fact the story didn’t rely on genre tropes. But at the same time the story seemed to forget them all most completely for a massive portion of the movie.
Relying on the story to be the primary means of entertainment is never a bad thing, but the lack of focus on Krampus was glaring. I think Krampus should have shown up much earlier in this film. I understand budget constraints can limit things. But it doesn’t mean a few scenes of death and violence to capture the power of the monster couldn’t have gone a long way in adding to the enjoyment. By the time he makes his appearance it doesn’t have the same impact, because there simply isn’t much story left. I also feel the Christmas theme of the setting being missing detracted from the purpose and tone of Krampus. It doesn’t need to be a reliance, but it does need to be worked in to create that emotional vibe to the landscape of the story.
In the end this film certainly had some positives working in its favor. The story does weave some fun dynamics to the concept of Krampus but at the same time the familiar package it was delivered in hinders the intensity of it. The performances show more than enough effort but a lack of the titular villain dampers the fun this movie should have delivered. If you love the series from Conway or are a huge fan of Krampus in general, this one is worth a shot. However, if you want a holiday vibe with some horror tropes to provide some turn-your-brain-off fun, you may find yourself let-down.