(Editor's note: this review is of a screener copy of the film that was provided by Uncork'd Entertainment)
This film, a prequel to the 2015 film 'Krampus,' expands the story of Krampus -- an actual myth about a Christmas boogeyman-like figure that acts as a counterpoint to St. Nicholas. It seems more like a dark fantasy for young adults than a horror film.
The film starts off with a battle scene during the First Word War as American soldiers attempt to retrieve information from the Germans. During the raid, the Americans inadvertently find a book of magic rituals that predictably include a spell for conjuring the titular character.
The story shifts to a Catholic orphanage where a new teacher, who is the widow of one of the Americans, gains possession of the book with predictable results. The pace slows considerably once the story focuses on the orphanage and the monster is not introduced until fairly late in the film.
The period setting marks a pleasant change of pace, the story contains interesting elements and the filmmakers seem to strive for a positive message. But Robert Conway's script uses too many stock characters and situations once the setting changes to the orphanage while Joseph Mbah's directing is just competent.
The quality of the acting runs the gamut with decent performances alongside actors that either engage in histrionics or seem to be phoning it in. The special effects are underwhelming and the monster seems more like an exposition dump than a threat once it is introduced.
Viewers interested in the legend of the Krampus or who want lighter horror fare may enjoy this film. It will probably disappoint more serious horror fans.