In 2009, after two years of senseless delays courtesy of a woefully misguided Warner Bros. Pictures, writer-director Michael Dougherty finally saw the release of his acclaimed interwoven anthology "Trick 'r Treat." A beautifully mounted ode to EC Comics and an unabashed love letter to All Hallows' Eve, the film not only brought legitimate fun back to a genre that, at the time, had grown mighty dark and tonally despairing with the "Saw" and "Hostel" series, but it left those viewers who saw it scratching their heads over why it was put on the shelf for so long before getting unceremoniously dumped directly to video. Six years later, Dougherty's feverishly anticipated follow-up, "Krampus," has actually gotten the wide theatrical bow "Trick 'r Treat" deserved, but with an injustice of its own: distributor Universal Pictures has opened it cold to critics, opting to forego advanced press screenings for what is, ultimately, one of the most auspicious studio-produced horror pictures of the year.
Pre-teen Max Engel (Emjay Anthony) may be getting too old to believe in Santa Claus, but it is a piece of his childhood to which he has continued to cling. Unfortunately, his recent Christmases have not been like the ones he used to know. Parents Tom (Adam Scott) and Sarah (Toni Collette) have begun to drift apart, once-close older sister Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen) spends more time with her boyfriend than with him, and, worst of all, his house is overrun by Aunt Linda (Allison Tolman) and her loutish, ungrateful family—among them, the Cousin Eddie-ish Uncle Howard (David Koechner) and their brood of bratty, fast-multiplying kids. When tomboy cousin Stevie (Lolo Owen) embarrasses him by reading his letter to Santa, it is the catalyst for his loss of holiday spirit. In a moment of frustration and anger, he rips up his good-hearted note and sends it off into the snowy night sky—an event that summons Krampus, a demonic figure of Alpine folklore whom his immigrant grandmother, Omi (Krista Stadler), knows all too well. With the power out and a blizzard barreling down outside, Max and his family are about to find themselves battling for their lives as December 25 draws near.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review