10th Nov2017

‘Krampus Unleashed’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Amelia Brantley, Bryson Holl, Caroline Lassetter, Taylor Buckley, Tim Sauer, Emily Lynne Aiken, Daniel Link, Tori Osborn, Michael Harrelson, Linda Cushma, Travis Amery, Dujhan Brown, Juliet Rose Serrato, Kerry Keepers, William ‘Bill’ Connor | Written and Directed by Robert Conway


An in-name only sequel to writer/director Robert Conway’s 2015 DTV flick Krampus: The Reckoning (review here), Krampus Unleashed once again hangs an unrelated story onto the tale of the Christmas anti-Santa which, at the time this film was made and originally released, in 2016, was riding high off the success of Michael Dougherty’s bigger-budgeted Krampus and an appearance in the portmanteau horror A Christmas Story.

But that was two years ago… Now? Krampus is probably best remembered here by a bunch of unsuspecting supermarket shoppers, who picked up the previous two terrible DTV films (The Reckoning and The Christmas Devil), as a disappointment and something to be avoided. Which explains why this sequel is only just reaching UK shores now!

As aforementioned, once again the core story has pretty much nothing to do with a traditional Krampus tale. Instead its the story of buried treasure, lost years ago and now pursued by a group of fortune hunters  – who unearth an ancient demonic summoning stone that holds a terrible curse and awakens a timeless evil, the Krampus. Who, honestly, could be replaced by any movie monster. There’s really no reason – beyond the then popularity of the character – for Krampus to be this film villain. Maybe writer/director Conway had a pre-written script that, once his first Krampus film sold well, was dusted off and had Krampus inserted.

It would certainly seem that way from how some scenes play out. The opening sequence of Krampus Unleashed looks like one of those 1970s Bigfoot movies – right down to the cheesy rubber-suited titular character! Then there’s the references to sasquatch and bigfoot by two of the local yokels… Methinks this film might have played out better if it HAD been a sasquatch flick. At least then this sub-par effort would have fitted in better with the rest of the cheesy Bigfoot-flick canon!

The rest of the film follows a fractured family brought together by the holiday season at their parents home who, years later, stumble upon the same summoning stone out in the woods near their family home… Which of courses unleashes Krampus. Inbetween we’re introduced to more of the towns inhabitants: including a local police officers ex-wife and her new boyfriend, some trailer park dwelling locals who are obsessed with bigfoot and, of course, the towns police. All of whom are nothing more than cannon fodder for the evil Krampus to tear his bloody hands through.

And that’s the thing, despite the films problems, Krampus Unleashed does have one thing going for it: the SUPERB gore effects. Within the first 10 minutes there’s a disembowelling, a throat ripping and even someone having their heart torn out their chest – all rendered in fantastic practical effects from one of the greatest, yet oddly less well-known, effects artists working today, Marcus Koch. And best of all the over-the-top gore keeps on coming and coming and getting wilder and wilder – which, like films of the video nasty era which often featured excessive gore in lieu of a decent story, is at least one reason to keep watching!

Krampus Unleashed is out now on DVD from High Fliers.


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