The folklore figure Krampus, a half goat and demon, victimizing the children who represented evil in some manner throughout the year, now become something of a mainstay of recent times in the horror genre, and while his appearance often stays the same, the storylines switch faster than the weather on any given day. This all comes especially true with screenwriter Robert Conway, who penned Krampus Origins, though is contains no connection to his previous Krampus creations Krampus: The Reckoning (2015) and Krampus Unleashed (2016) more on this in a moment. Robert, stepped down from the director’s chair, allowing Joseph Mbah, cinematographer from a previous Krampus movie to assume the helm, and therefore producing a slightly better film, with regard to lighting and framing. This latest incarnation released from Uncork’d Entertainment and prepared to ravage the lands of evil children in time for Christmas.
Although, before getting to the guts of this storyline one needs to retrace a few steps, Conway isn’t creating a franchise of a central character of Krampus, nowhere near it, he in fact ignores the previous films he did, and reinvents the plot once more with a stranger start to the film and with a thoroughly different looking creature. Confused? It would be like Star Wars and the character Chewbacca in each film he appears differently, first a hairy beast, then in part V he wears Bermuda shows and speaks French then in Part VI he wears a Santa suit while holding a Snoopy stuffed animal, none of it goes together and the same is here with the Krampus character which keeps changing for no reason. This latest entry, purely individual in every word, no part of the monster of the folklore stay hinged together, therefore if you know nothing about him then this movie will work for you.
If you ever saw a movie, where you thought you missed the key element to understanding the film, then that might help you here. As the plot takes some very wild leaps, skips, hops, and just random buckshot scattered storyline. It starts in December 1918, in France of WWI American soldiers raiding a German military bunker, which appears as nothing more than a building basement. A German officer killed in the middle of trying to conjure Krampus (off screen) projected on screen as a light show. Then it skips to one soldier, Patrick (Owen Conway (Krampus: The Reckoning  )), finding a book of ancient spells, which he doesn’t turn over to his superiors. Suddenly, a new group of Germans executes but leave the soldiers with the personal property, that book and amulet, get sent back to states and to his wife with no questions asked. Welcome to America, Krampus, and just in time for Christmas! Meanwhile, on the screen it states, ‘Arizona Territory’ (one problem Arizona became a state in February of 1912, oops) Patrick’s wife, Josephine (Katie Peabody), is a new teacher arrived at an orphanage thanks to handyman Jimmy (Miloh England), run by Sister Rafus (Maria Olsen (Consumption ) who stands in for a very drunken Father Timothy (Michael Harrelson (Exit to Hell ), aided by Sister Martha (Linda Cushma (Room for Rent ). Shortly after her arrival she’s informed by the military her husband died, who leaves the room and presents the funeral flag (which appears as modern flag not one of WWI) to a random nun instead of directly to the widow – very strange, along with the amulet and spell book. In addition, strong-willed Adelia (Anna Harr (The Curse of Sleeping Beauty ), Henrietta (Amelia Haberman), and Lena (Shannyn Hall), all have interest in potions and spells all strangely permitted at the catholic institution. No abuse of the children occurs, nor anything resembling nunsploitiation, thankful those clichés all removed. Lena takes the book to learn more spells and accidentally unleashes the Krampus and needs the amulet that Josephine wears and other nonsensical elements which instills stammering Bram (Luke Waxman) to aid her in casting spells. Sounds strange, oh indeed it is, one needs eggnog to understand the plot.
As customary with low-budget films, multiple individuals do many tasks, Mbah handling the directorial responsibilities as well as visual effects, cinematography and film editing with Robert Conway assisting, these all work to enhance the movie into a more positive focus for the audience to enjoy. However, major setbacks come from both the lack of a convincing story and the poor audio qualities, varied volume problems muffled lines which become quite troublesome. A few other items, that plague the plot, the film never truly feels as if ready for Christmas, a tree and decorations all after thoughts. However, the creature star Krampus, truly suffers he doesn’t resemble the beast on the poster art, in fact he wears a medieval helmet and speaks in long-winded dialogue, his overall involvement appears very muddled in the last half of the film.
While the overall movie moves along swiftly it goes at breakneck speed, never allowing the audience to enjoy Krampus, or any other aspects of the movie. Few characters truly not needed for the scope of the production, namely the handyman or the Father, although seeing contributions from Maria Olson returning to the screen does make the fan of her work quite happy, the happiness comes across very fleeting just like the holiday spirt in the film.
IMDb Rating: 3.1/10
Baron’s Rating: 3.0/10