It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a direct-to-video Krampus story or three. “Krampus Origins” seeks to tell the story from the beginning.
Is there a better way to ring in the season than by learning about the origins of Krampus? If Krampus Origins is how we have to go about it, then there must be. For starters, the movie is set in the early part of the 1900s, and Krampus has been around for centuries. How is this an origin story?
The film opens with American soldiers discovering an ancient book during WWI. After the soldier finds it, he is killed, and his belongings are sent to his wife, a young woman just starting a teaching position at a Catholic orphanage.
The orphanage is run by a drunken priest and a strict nun. One of the housekeepers likes to share her love of fairy magic with the children. So when you drop in an ancient evil text, of course, someone is going to read it. They unleash Krampus on the school. Well, they release a black horned demon with glowing eyes that they call Krampus.
He looks nothing like what you would expect — or even the picture on the poster. What happens next is what you would expect — death and mayhem. The children are captured, and the adults murdered…not that we get to see any of it happen onscreen. Instead, we just see the aftermath in all it’s not-nearly-bloody-enough splendor.
Overall, the acting is decent, especially for a low budget film. The production is also very good. They did a nice job with costuming and sets for the period, though several of the rooms look like they were the same one only repurposed for a different scene.
The biggest crime of Krampus Origins is that it falls to the cardinal sin in a horror film. It is so BORING!!!! We don’t even see Krampus until we’re an hour into the 85 minute film. And then (as described above), he’s beyond disappointing. And instead of getting to see his bloody rampage, we get to listen to him monologue about how he was captured in the book.
I love holiday horror. Krampus has become a hugely popular subject, especially since Michael Dougherty’s successful theatrical take on the character, but these low-budget attempts to cash in are getting tiresome.
A movie about the origin of Krampus might make for a great film, but Krampus Origins is not it.