would seem that the Krampus legend has become the seasonal fad of American
horror. Last Christmas, Michael Dougherty introduced the Eastern European
anti-Clause via his big budget gremlins-inspired Christmas caper Krampus, the
success spawned numerous cash-ins. Robert Conway’s 2015 film Krampus: The Reckoning wasn’t so good,
this year’s unconnected follow up Krampus:
Unleashed, isn’t quite the improvement you might’ve hoped for.
Where the first film had a kind of Grimm
fairy tale angle, this film goes down the adventure horror route and breaks the
Krampus out of hibernation on account of an ancient buried treasure. There’s
some semblance of thought, but not a huge amount of common sense or craft. Sure
it’s better than Conway’s first Krampus flick, but that’s not saying much. The
dialogue feels clunky and overdone, the acting is passable yet never involving,
and worst perhaps is that its plain old dull.
Conway doesn’t seem to know whether he
wants us to enjoy watching the Krampus dole out carnage or cower at its
ruthlessness. Either way, there’s mixed messages in all directions. Whoever was
handling the gore obviously had a good idea of the film’s tone, because the
deaths seem to fit in with the silly B-Movie quality more than most of the
Krampus itself looks pretty dull and far
too much like a Halloween costume. The CGI abomination from Krampus: The Reckoning was unsettlingly
bad, whereas the one here is just plain bad. Again there are tonal
inconsistencies; prolonged sequences of Krampus shuffling around in the light,
and supposedly tense moments where it seems to move lightning fast. The comedy
isn’t big enough, and the scares aren’t quite sincere.
There’s potential here for a good horror
comedy (rednecks mistake Krampus prints for Bigfoot) but Conway takes things
too seriously and spends too much time acquainting us with Krampus fodder
families. Krampus: Unleashed feels
most comfortable when its offing terrible people with terrible violence, we
just wish it did that more.
KRAMPUS UNLEASHED / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ROBERT CONWAY / STARRING: AMELIA BRANTLEY, BRYSON HOLL, CAROLINE LASSETTER, TAYLOR BUCKLEY, TIM SAUER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 5'/10