Brooklyn vs. Krampus: Basically the Same Movie


I saw two movies in theaters recently that were basically the same film told by different directors; Brooklyn and Krampus.  They’ve both been the talk of indie movie town lately, so I thought I’d group them together into a quick little review.


Wait, these movies are similar?  What are they about again?

Brooklyn is the romance story of Ellis (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant who comes to America in the 1950s (I guess she passed the terrorism test to get in), and finds love, work, love, love, spaghetti, and love; in that order.  It’s a beautifully written and shot film that shows the realism of relationships, and the pain of homesickness; which I’m told is worse than seasickness, which she also got on the boat ride over to America.

Krampus is the story of a midwestern family on Christmas (Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, & Allison Tolman, among others) who, after the youngest child scorns his family’s lack of Christmas spirit, get a visit from the anti-christ version of Santa, who had a run in with the family’s German grandmother earlier in her life.  Then all the demon toys and creepy elves cause havoc on the neighborhood.


So, they’re like, not AT ALL alike, are they?

I don’t know…  Aren’t they?


Well, the way you just described them, it doesn’t really sound like it.

Oh, so two stories of European immigrants living in America, experiencing family tragedy back in their homeland, and then desiring strong family values here in the States aren’t similar movies?


Yeah, but…  One of them has a giant killer jack in the box, the other has a girl going on dates…

I’m gonna stop you right there.  You didn’t see these movies, did you?


Well, no, that’s why I’m asking you these questions.

So, maybe you should shut your stupid mouth.


There’s no need to get rude about it…

Then how about you just take my word on this, and accept the fact that these movies are almost companion pieces to each other?


Fine.  I’ll just continue on with the normal questions.  Did they play well within their genres?

Yeah, definitely.  I’m actually not one who actively enjoys the romance genre, but I appreciated what Brooklyn did.  It wasn’t as obnoxious or on-the-nose as a Nicholas Sparks movie.  The characters made realistic decisions based on who they were developed to be.  Also, it wasn’t super boring.  By the third act, I was yelling “Ohhh, she better pick the right guy!” out loud in the theater (we were the only people at a 10pm Tuesday screening).  I also farted twice and checked my phone once.  These are alone-in-the-theater perks I don’t get all the time.

Krampus was a pretty fun horror movie.  It seems like most horror movies nowadays are too serious.  It was directed by the guy who made Trick ‘r Treat in 2007 (Michael Dougherty), which is another fun horror movie I liked.  I hope Dougherty continues his trend of tackling holiday horror films, and makes a Kwanzaa thriller in which Michael Jai White tries to find unity and purpose in his community by drop kicking a coven of witches into a lake of fire.  But anyway, yeah, Krampus is…  fun.  It’s kooky and humorous, and the best word to describe it is fun.  Dumb fun.  More in line with an 80’s horror movie than what would be considered modern horror.


…Still though, one’s a serious movie about a girl finding love, and the other’s a fun movie about fighting Christmas demons…  Is there even a Christmas scene in Brooklyn?

There’s a winter-ish setting.  For part of the movie.  I thought I warned you about questioning how similar these movies are?


I’m just saying…

You’re just pushing your luck.


Fine, are they both Oscar contenders?

I’d say Brooklyn is a probably going to be a decently heavy contender.  It has a definitely-going-to-be-nominated performance from Saoirse Ronan, and then it will likely nab up those costume & makeup categories as well.  Krampus, however, is probably never going to win an award for anything.  Though, I think you’ll be surprised as to which of these two movies has a loud diarrhea-in-a-bucket scene…  …It rhymes with Drooklyn.


So, they’re not the same genre, and they aren’t both awards contenders.  They aren’t really all that similar, then.

Buddy, I just feel like punching you in the mouth right now.


There’s no need to take it to that level, I was just saying that I feel like you maybe should have done separate reviews for these two movies, because they have absolutely no justifiable reasoning for being compared to each other.

I’m sorry, did you get a prestigious film degree from a downstate university in middle-of-nowhere Illinois?


No, I have a medical degree from Johns Hop-

I didn’t think so.  I’m the one who watched five Godard movies.  I’m the one who wrote a paper on Ralph Bakshi.  I’m the one who shot a seven minute short on black and white 16mm film.  *I’M* the one who can decipher the similarities and differences in the art of projected freaking cinema.  *I*, yes *ME*, once raised my hand in a classroom and said OUT LOUD, in front of other people, that Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film Red Desert had similar themes to Kubrick’s 2001, and may have had an influence on the latter.  MY PROFESSOR AGREED.  So, you need to watch your line of questioning, because *I’M* the one with the foofy liberal arts degree, so *I’M* the one who tells one-track-thinking dolts like YOU how to FEEL about pieces of entertainment that LITERALLY can carry NOTHING but the weight of OPINIONS on their backs.


So you agree with me that cinematic art is subjective and – 

Oh my god, I’m gonna make you eat my shoe.  You are done here, pal.  I don’t want to dignify your thought process with any more acknowledgement.


Well, I’m probably going to go see Spotlight over either of these movies, anyway…  But can you at least tell me your final scores, I guess?

You don’t deserve it, but if you were LISTENING to me at all, you’d know they would get the SAME score, which would probably be solid Bs.


Thank you.

And you, sir, deserve *two* Bs for BONA FIDE BONEHEAD.


I’m sorry you feel that way.


3 thoughts on “Brooklyn vs. Krampus: Basically the Same Movie

  1. Albert Baba says:

    how refreshing a critic that can throw a punch and i’m sure take one. informative and entertaining what more could one ask for while enjoying a good bottle of Pino.
    Great stuff Scott.
    before i wrote this i went back through your archives, my loss for not getting there sooner.
    i’ll be looking in a little more frequent, oh, by the way give my love to your soon to be better half.


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