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By Mark Bell | September 29, 2013

After a child disappears around the Christmas holiday, a pair of paranormal investigators, Rue (Khristian Fulmer) and Claire (Erin Lilley), and their talking skeleton Herbie (Soren Odom), are on the case. As their investigation moves along, all signs point to the Krampus, a mythological creature tasked with punishing those who fall on Santa’s “Naughty” list. However, punishment is one thing (a lump of coal in a stocking, for example), but abduction is another, and there may be something bigger going on than just a “normal” Krampus visit.

Thomas Smith’s Night of the Krampus is a short film in the vein of Hellboy or an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Like those projects, the paranormal is in play, and often accepted by the heroes on the case as normal, day-to-day activity. I mean, how can you be disturbed by the Krampus when you have a talking skeleton torso named Herbie strapped to your back?

And Herbie, honestly, wasn’t an element I was too keen on. The film sets up a mystery, and is even a little creepy and spooky with the initial Krampus encounter for young Lisa (Chloe Dykes) and her soon-to-be-abducted brother Bobby (Lucas Curley). You could pretty much go anywhere at this point, and the film chooses to go goofy by introducing us to Herbie. From there, any suspense or creep-factor is undermined by the fact that there’s a wise-cracking skeleton involved, and everything becomes a lighthearted romp.

Which is still a valid choice, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t for me. This is more family-friendly a horror tale than I initially expected, that’s all. I just think you could’ve stayed a suspenseful scary adventure with a lighthearted touch without the inclusion of Herbie, who honestly doesn’t do much for the tale. And don’t get me started on the lack of police involvement, considering there’s a kid missing with some obvious clues, like hand prints, left behind. Our investigators may be more likely to climb a paranormal tree, but the clues they’re following are obvious regardless of what you believe.

Tech-wise, the audio is tinny in spots and somewhat weak in others, sounding like another mix might be in order. Likewise the image is sometimes washed out, and other times rich. You can make out what’s going on, and hear the dialogue fine, both elements just aren’t tip-top at all times. The effects work for the Krampus is solid, however, and the score is fun too, evoking dark and spooky when necessary. All around the film does come together nicely, if not perfectly.

Overall, Night of the Krampus has a mood similar to Scooby-Doo, and is more fun than it is scary or mysterious. And that can be refreshing; not every tale needs a jump scare or gore everywhere. That said, sometimes the film plays things so nonchalantly that, if the characters in the film don’t find things all that extraordinary, it translates to the audience to be equally as nonplussed.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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  1. Jonas Albrecht says:

    Camera Direction for Rue Morgen:

    *Turns to the camera, smile wryly. Every scene*

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