Krampus: The Christmas Devil


Someone kidnaps and tries to kill a child who grows up to be a detective, determined to find the fiend that kidnaps more kids every Christmas.

Year: 2013
Certificate: 15
Director: Jason Hull
Starring: Richard Goteri, Michael Mili, Bill Oberst Jr., A.J. Leslie, Jay Dobyns, Erica Soto, Jeremy Sidun, Angelina Leigh, Darin Foltz, Brad Weaver

Information Page:

The things I do for you lot. Seriously, you owe me big time. I mean it. I expect hundreds, if not thousands, of Christmas presents from you all after putting myself through this just for you.

OK, so I seem to have written an implied conclusion before even starting the review, but “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” is officially the worst film on Netflix with a Netflix rating of 1.9/5, an IMDb rating of 1.7/10 and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 1.9/5 (and score of 19%). Does it deserve such a low score? Well… you may have already guessed but let me expand on my opening comments.

The film starts with a potted history of Krampus who, if you weren’t aware, is Santa’s brother. Each year Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick provides his demonic brother with the most recent naughty list and gives him until midnight on Christmas Eve to deal with these naughty kids. Nice man. We then see a bag with a screaming child inside it being thrown into a frozen lake by Krampus but then the child manages to escape and run off. Roll on a couple of decades and we see these abductions starting again and Detective Duffin (Leslie) is on the case.

From the outset you can see this is a low-budget movie – the sound levels are all over the place, the camerawork is frequently blurry and the lighting was simply non-existent. Another drawback of it being a low-budget movie was that the few fight scenes just didn’t feel right – the hard-rock/metal soundtrack was just turned up as though this was easier than making it sound like it was a real fight. These things, however, I can forgive. What is unforgivable though is the acting – or complete lack thereof. Aside from one character there was no emotion, no feeling, no performance. My personal opinion is that the creators just got their mates to “be in their little movie”.

As the story progresses we see Duffin and his friends hunting down Krampus, having grown weary of the annual Chistmas kidnappings and murders. It is actually quite a good detective story: boy gets abducted as a child but escapes; boy grows up and becomes detective; detective wants to bring an end to his childhood tormentor and dedicates his work to that cause. We also see some naked breasts – presumably to push the certifcate up from a 12 to a 15 because, let’s be honest, who would take a 12-rated ‘horror’ film seriously? That scene adds nothing to the plot at all so I can only assume that’s the reason for it’s inclusion.

The notable exception in the acting that I mentioned earlier was Oberst Jr. as a recently released ex-con hell-bent on getting his revenge on Duffin for putting him away ten years earlier. He plays the part brilliantly and realistically. He really is a credit to the film as a whole but, sadly, it wasn’t enough to redeem it.

The poor quality of the film and the acting isn’t the main reason why I didn’t enjoy the festive treat that is “Krampus: The Christmas Devil”. It’s biggest letdown was that it just didn’t know what it wanted to be. Krampus really only plays a small part in the film and it’s more akin to a crime film than a horror. It may have worked if the emphasis was on how Detective Duffin tracked Krampus down over the decades; it may have worked if the film was just a horror story about Krampus; it may have worked as a revenge film with the ex-con coming after Duffin. However, it seems to be a little bit of each but, at the same time, not enough of one to tell a decent story.

I had hoped it would be a case of so-bad-it’s-good but it ends up being simply so-bad-it’s-bad. There’s not much Krampus, there’s not much Christmas and there certainly isn’t much Devil.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!


About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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