NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on August 25, 2021
Kratt follows the tech-addicted youngsters’ Mia (Nora Merivoo) and Kevin (Harri Merivoo), two teens who have been left at their grandmother’s (Mari Lill) house while their parents go off for a retreat. Of course, by accident, the parents have taken Mia and Kevin’s phones which means they’ve become bored and irritable with nothing to do except chores that their grandmother gives them.
They end up making friends with a pair of twins, Juuli (Elise Tekko) and August (Roland Teima), who tell them that the only place in town to get good internet is at the library. While there, Mia finds a book with an ancient spell that would allow them to create a creature known as a Kratt which will do all their chores for them.
In order to make a Kratt, the kids need to do a few things, such as build a giant statue that will end up being their Kratt, perform a whistling ritual on the night of the full moon, have a large bag of blood on hand to trade with the devil in exchange for a soul and, perhaps most importantly, don’t mess up so horribly that you wake up in the morning to discover your grandmother has a scythe sticking through her head and is not being controlled by the Kratt, meaning she is constantly demanding to be given work and if you don’t give her any she’ll strangle you to death… oh kids, how could you mess this up.
Kratt plays almost completely like a family film, indeed the morals of taking time away from technology and working hard fit right at home in the kind of cheesy family film that one might expect… and then the scythe goes through the head and we start seeing more blood, naked people and obscenity and it becomes obvious that this is not going to be the standard family fare.
It never really loses the tone of those cheesy family films, but the content pushes it squarely into the adult category unless you’re cool with your kid seeing films with a bit of blood, swearing and naked people… to each their own. If that’s the kind of parent you are (AKA a cool parent who is awesome) then this is definitely the kind of film that will go nicely with those strange 80s family films that pushed the boundary of the rating system.
The main thrust of Kratt is this relationship between the kids and their grandmother that starts off a little adversarial because the kids are used to a more modern lifestyle and the grandmother is still mostly into farm life with a lot less modern tech. It’s filled with very pointed jokes about the technology obsession and contrasting it with the homey lifestyle of the grandmother, your classic modern take on “The olds don’t get the young people”.
It’s honestly quite fun and relatable and then seeing the way the grandmother transforms into the Kratt is pretty funny at times, especially when she ends up basically getting super strength and does things like carrying a full freezer like it was nothing or hack apart a mafia guy and turn him into pizza… as I said, it’s not exactly child friendly, but tonally this somehow feels charming when viewed.
There’s a fairy tale feeling to Kratt, like the old Grimm’s Fairy Tales… the really dark versions that got lost over the years, here’s a brand new one with all the horror and shock still intact and it’s just a lot of fun. It has a fun moral to tell and the characters are broad enough that you end up knowing everything you need to know about them within a few minutes so you can just get on with enjoying the silliness that the film has to offer.
Are there some moments that feel a little off tone-wise? Sure there are, while I might’ve laughed when granny lit a sauerkraut fart and flew off into space it was one of several moments that felt like they just didn’t know what tone they were going for and so they went for “stupid”, it sometimes works but there’s a lot of moments where it feels kinda silly.
Still, Kratt is a lot of fun in its own weird way. A dark cheeky and delightfully original fairy tale about technology, family and the devil. It’s certainly got enough tone issues along the way that it might not be for everyone, but there’s enough charm and cleverness here that if you want to find a weird messed up family film to enjoy with your weird messed up family then I think this will have you covered.