If you love Gremlins but don’t feel like rewatching Gremlins, consider Krampus a worthwhile diet caffeine-free alternative. Adam Scott and Toni Collette star as a blandly upperclass Mom and Dad to a teen daughter and a son just old enough to still believe in Santa. Trouble arrives in threes: There’s Mom’s sister (Fargo breakout Allison Tolman) and her uncouth family; there’s the apocalyptic snowstorm that cuts off all communication to the outside world; and then there’s the Krampus, the mythic anti-Santa who punishes you for being naughty and nice.

Krampus wants to be an irreverent horror-comedy, but it’s too sentimental and too broad to hit the heights of Joe Dante at his best. And there’s a weird undercurrent of classism in the movie’s architecture: The suburban family is cutely perfect, the country relatives are Cro-Magnon. If you love Adam Scott and David Koechner in anything — I do and I don’t, respectively — you’ll recognize their work as Harried Beta and Goofball Alpha. Far more entertaining are Collette and Tolman as the desperate moms trying to keep their families together. And full credit to director Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat) because this is great-looking movie, filled with freaky creature designs and a just-right mixture of practical effects and CGI. B

  • Movie
  • 98 minutes