Krampus is a 2015 American horror-comedy film based upon the eponymous character from Alpine folklore, directed by Michael Dougherty and written by Dougherty, Todd Casey, and Zach Shields. The film stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen, and Krista Stadler. It was released on December 4, 2015, by Universal Pictures.
December 22; a suburban family gets together to celebrate the holidays—Tom (Adam Scott) and Sarah (Toni Collette), their children Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen) and Max (Emjay Anthony); Sarah’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman), Linda’s husband Howard (David Koechner), their children Stevie, Jordan, Howie Jr., and their newborn daughter; Sarah and Linda’s aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell); and Tom’s German mother, who is affectionately referred to as “Omi.” Max wants to continue the family’s Christmas traditions, but tensions between various members of the family keep everyone from having a good time. Max eventually sees red when his mischievous cousins Stevie and Jordan steal his letter to Santa Claus and read it out loud at dinner, screaming that he hates his family. Tom tries to comfort him, but Max angrily tears his letter apart and throws the pieces out the window. Almost immediately after he does, a snowstorm suddenly appears and cuts out power in the entire town.
December 23; the family is struggling with the loss of electricity and heat, ignoring Max’s worries over a snowman that has suddenly appeared in their front yard. A package delivery man delivers boxes, and the family also bring in a mysterious large bag of presents left by their door. Beth decides to walk to her boyfriend’s house after he doesn’t answer her texts. As she walks through the blizzard, she suddenly hears sleigh bells and a loud noise and sees a tall horned figure on a roof. It chases her from rooftop to rooftop, and she hides underneath the now dead package man’s van. The creature lands and circles the truck before appearing to leave. A jack-in-the-box suddenly appears and an unseen creature crawls out of it and attacks Beth.
As night falls, Tom and Sarah become worried over Beth. Tom and Howard take his truck to try and find her. While they are gone, the rest of the family hear strange noises on the roof. Tom and Howard are unnerved by the lack of any cars or people in the snow covered neighborhood along with a snowplow that has had a violent encounter. They find Beth’s boyfriend’s house in devastation, as well as large, goat-like hoofprints on the floor. They suddenly hear Beth screaming and run outside, where Howard is attacked and nearly dragged underneath the snow by a buried monster. Tom manages to scare it off with his gun, but Howard’s leg is injured, and they discover the truck has been destroyed. They make it back to the house, and Tom tells the family to board up all the doors and windows, promising Sarah that they will look for Beth when morning comes. Omi tells Tom to leave the fire burning, but Howard falls asleep on his watch and it dies.
As the family sleeps together in the living room, a hook with a gingerbread cookie attached descends down the fireplace. Howie Jr. wakes up and takes a bite out of the cookie, which suddenly comes to life and wraps him in a chain, dragging him up into the fireplace. Sarah, Tom, Linda, and Howard try to save him, but the boy is dragged up the chimney. Omi reveals to the family what is happening—they are being tormented by Krampus, an ancient demon spirit that punishes people who lose their hope and the true meaning of Christmas. Omi admits that when she was young, her family’s poverty and the state of her peers following World War II caused her to lose her love of the holiday, which summoned Krampus and resulted in her parents and her town being dragged into the underworld. She alone was spared by Krampus, who left a bauble bearing his name behind, as a reminder of what happens when one loses their Christmas spirit. Everyone apart from Howard share a stunned look.
Tom makes a plan to try and run for the snowplow left behind in the streets, hoping to make a path for the rest of the family to escape. In the attic, the bag of presents suddenly begins shaking. Stevie and Jordan hear Beth’s voice from the attic and go look. When Tom, Sarah, and Linda hear their screams, they run to the attic and witness a large jack-in-the-box monster swallowing Jordan whole. As they are attacked by monstrous toys, Howard deals with a trio of living gingerbread men in the kitchen. They all manage to fight the creatures off and save Stevie, when suddenly a horde of dark elves break into the house. The dark elves put out the fire, then carry off Dorothy, the baby, Howard, and the jack-in-the-box. Krampus is heard landing on their roof, and the remaining family members quickly decide to make a run for the snowplow. Omi stays behind to give the others time to get away, and Krampus stuffs her into his sack.
The rest of the family manage to reach the snowplow, when the monster beneath the snow appears. Tom sacrifices himself so the others can get away, but Linda and Sarah are both taken as well. Max and Stevie get into the snowplow only to find it doesn’t work. The dark elves appear and take Stevie, and Krampus appears before Max. He gives Max a bauble with his name on it, wrapped in a piece of his shredded Santa letter, before vanishing. Max realizes that he is the reason why Krampus came.
Max finds Krampus and his dark elves preparing his sleigh to return to the underworld with Stevie. He throws the bauble at Krampus, demanding that he fix things. A massive hole with a pit of lava at the bottom suddenly opens in the street. Max pleads with Krampus to give his family back and take him instead. Krampus accepts the bauble only to begin laughing evilly. The dark elves toss Stevie into the pit, then Krampus picks Max up and holds him over the pit. Max apologizes to Krampus for losing his Christmas spirit. Krampus then drops the screaming Max into the pit.
Max suddenly awakens in his bed on Christmas morning. He looks out his window and sees that the neighborhood has returned to normal, and he finds his entire family downstairs opening presents. Max is then happy, believing that the entire experience had been a dream until he opens a present and discovers the Krampus bauble left as a warning. The whole family looks in shock, the memories of their terrifying experience coming back to them. The scene pans out to reveal the house inside a snow globe among many others in Krampus’s workshop; either meaning that they are trapped or Krampus is watching over them through the snow globe, and then Krampus’s demonic toys jump out at the audience.