Best 12 Christmas Horror Movies (Christmas 2023)

Shikhar Jauhari

Best 12 Christmas Horror Movies (Christmas 2023)

Horror flicks may be abundant during the Halloween season. Still, Christmas horror movies offer something different: holiday chillers can provide a compelling genre twist. These festive horror films often may be darkly comic while others delve deep into horror movie territory with gore and terror galore; whatever their tone, however, they all share one key characteristic – they capture some of the anxiety associated with holidays!

Here are the Best 12 Christmas Horror movies to Stream this festive season

Krampus (2015)

Krampus

Stream now on PeacocktvPrime Video

Run Time: 1h 38m

Many Christmas movie gets released yearly, yet this one stands out. This one stands out with an outstanding cast blending comedy and horror in perfect balance. Beginning with a humorous yet sarcastic take on consumerist holiday madness that seems all-too-prevalent, then transitioning into an intense siege-type horror flick similar to Christmas Vacation or The Mist, ultimately leading up to some memorable classic Christmas films such as It’s A Wonderful Life and Gremlins.

After an especially disastrous dinner party, Max Engel (Emjay Anthony) tears up his letter to Santa and releases Krampus – an ancient malevolent dark shadow of Christmas known for punishing those who break its rules – into his hometown of Vienna, where his demonic minions come after everything that the family has worked hard for. When this happens, it falls to Omi to protect them all from Christmas’s demon.

A Haunting in Venice (2023)

A Haunting in Venice

Stream now on Disney+Hulu, AppleTv

Run Time: 1h 43m

Kenneth Branagh will star as Sherlock in A Haunting in Venice based on Agatha Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party, exploring more supernatural elements. The actor-director teams back up with writer Michael Green for another Agatha Christie murder mystery! However, this time, it takes him deeper than traditional cases, featuring Poirot exploring supernatural phenomena rather than mundane corpses being discovered at remote estates.

Poirot and his friends begin the film on a boat at Night, sailing towards a palazzo where Rowena Drake holds a seance for her dead daughter Alicia. While Poirot does not wish to attend this seance himself, one of Ariadne Oliver’s (Tina Fey) books offers something else as an incentive.

Oliver asks Poirot to accompany her to a seance she’s holding to connect with the spirit of her daughter’s passing, even though he hesitates. However, Oliver quickly persuades him otherwise and convinces him to accompany her.

The Children (2008)

The Children

Stream now on Plex

Run Time: 1h 24m

This British horror flick is fueled by rising hysteria. Two families gather at an opulent estate for winter fun when one child becomes sick and begins exhibiting disturbing behaviors that lead to murders, unbeknownst to adults who realize later their true nature only after it is too late – controlled by some unknown virus that turns them into psychotic killers.

Although its plot may be simplistic, this film exudes creepiness thanks to its haunting setting and beautifully atmospheric shots of snow-covered countryside. Director Tom Shankland excels at using young actors effectively, each conveying their characters with great skill.

Eva Birthistle shines as the mother of a sick child and convinces us she’s not entirely insane. Brriella Guiza and David Mattle also do an outstanding job as leads. What makes this movie particularly effective is its refusal to fall back into predictable cliches typical to this genre: cumbersome backstories, romantic interludes, or explanations are omitted altogether in favor of a steady pace and gradually building a sense of dread – creating a captivating and delightful low budget horror flick which should please fans of such genre.

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Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins

Stream now on Prime VideoMax, AppleTv

Run Time: 1h 46m

Joe Dante and Chris Columbus’ wacky and satirical spectacle of chaos was one of the most beloved films from 1984. While taking cues from various movies, most importantly, it came at a time when horror and comedy films such as Ghostbusters, Piranha, and The Far Side became more prevalent. Joe Dante, known for directing comedies like Piranha and The Howling, and screenwriter Chris Columbus (The Goonies) collaborated on creating Gremlins.

The film follows the Peltzer family and their mogwai, Gizmo. When Billy accidentally pours water over it after midnight, Gizmo grows exponentially, causing many issues within their town.

Gremlins has become an annual holiday classic that people look forward to watching each year. Steve Allen and Corey Feldman give outstanding performances as the leads; Polly Holliday as Mrs. Peltzer stands out too; special effects are superb; with so much comedy packed into just over 90 minutes, Gremlins makes for an entertaining watch!

Saw (2004)

Saw

Stream now on Netflix

Run Time: 1h 43m

The original Saw film premiered in 2004. Freelance photographer Adam Stanheight (Cary Elwes) and oncologist Dr Lawrence Gordon awaken in a multipurpose bathroom chained to pipes, one holding a gun. At the same time, the other has a tape recorder in hand – unaware that they’ve become part of Jigsaw’s deadly game and working to escape its various Rube Goldberg deathtraps.

Saw is one of the few horror films to embrace its violence head-on without shrinking away from depictions of violence or depictions of pain. Although acting performances may not always be perfect – Cary Elwes makes for particularly comic relief by its end – director James Wan and co-writer Leigh Whannell expertly use tension-building nihilism in its script. At the same time, its inventive devices for inflicting pain are highly innovative for their time.

It poses a powerful and relevant question – “How far would you go to survive?” – particularly given 9/11 and the War on Terrorism. Interestingly, it also explores Christian themes, such as salvation, redemption, obedience/disobedience relationships, and divine judgment.

It (2017)

It

Stream now on Prime VideoNetflix, HBO Max

Run Time: 2h 15m

In 2017, It, a remake of Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name, was released in cinematic form as two separate movies instead of just one. The first film follows seven children who form their own Losers Club to fight an inexplicable monster who preys upon children; as adults, they find themselves once again pitted against It. Although not an easy film for all audiences due to depictions of sexual assault and bullying, It serves as a message that we can overcome even our darkest foes.

While it uses some typical horror-movie conventions, its primary source of terror lies within its characters and their innermost fears. Eerie sequences and Bill Skarsgard’s impressive performance make for a well-rounded scary flick experience.

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Contrary to many modern horror films that rely on jump scares for shock value, It stands out due to its chilling atmosphere and strong performances. While its plot can become somewhat repetitive with each kid facing fear, each set piece in this horror thriller is horrifying.

Better Watch Out (2016)

Better Watch Out

Stream now on Apple TVPeacocktv

Run Time: 1h 29m

Better Watch Out is an engaging thriller about a 12-year-old boy wreaking havoc with his babysitter on a quiet suburban street during an unusual home invasion attempt. Olivia DeJonge stars as Olivia’s babysitter (Olivia DeJonge). When an intruder breaks in and attacks them both simultaneously, the babysitter quickly discovers this is no ordinary home invasion attempt and begins protecting their charge before finding out more information from an anonymous caller (Franco).

Director Chris Peckover keeps things tense while engaging, with some outstanding performances by the cast. The violence can often be gory, and there may be sexual references that might offend those who do not appreciate such material.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would suggest it to any viewer looking for an engaging thriller with plenty of twists and turns. The acting was outstanding, while its script was clever and witty – though some may find some aspects of violence troubling; that won’t stop me from watching it again in the future!

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Rare Exports A Christmas Tale

Stream now on Prime VideoPeacocktv, AppleTv

Run Time: 1h 24m

Rare Exports is an unsettling modern fairy tale that blends ancient lore with dark humor and snowy menace to produce an engaging modern fairy tale that mixes revisionist mythology, horror film tropes, and authentic Christmas spirit into an excitingly unnerving mix. Santa has never been taken seriously, but this tale proves him otherwise!

Jalmari Helander directs this comedy with an off-kilter sense of humor that shines through every character – Onni Tommila stands out in particular as she brilliantly portrays Pietari, an individual navigating male rites of passage by confronting childhood fears.

On Christmas Eve in Lapland, an archaeological dig uncovers something shocking: an ancient being filled with terror has been released from centuries of imprisonment beneath the Korvatunturi mountains, and it must now be stopped before unleashing its violent fury upon all children worldwide. Only local trappers and one brave young boy have the strength and determination to prevent its bloody return and end its reign of terror.

Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary

Stream now on Prime VideoHulu, Netflix

Run Time: 2h 7m

Hereditary is an inventive horror film that twists family relationships with an original twist. As writer/director Ari Aster makes his feature debut with this dark tale of memory tearing families apart, Hereditary does not reinvent its genre but refreshes classics with new paintbrush strokes. Genre fans won’t need to strain to spot references such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist–even more obscure films such as In the Bedroom–that pop up throughout this sinister narrative about family memories gone sour.

Hereditary’s menacing soundtrack by composer Colin Stetson and cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski’s disconcerting lighting sets the scene for bone-chilling tension. It is an engaging study of cross-generational grief and trauma, as told through its relentless, disturbing filmmaking style.

Hereditary is one of the most unnerving films you can watch this Christmas, and for a good reason: its unsettling atmosphere and tension-inducing pacing make it more effective than most high-concept horror offerings. Furthermore, this thriller dares to stand by its convictions. It delivers an explosive, gut-wrenching finale that leaves audiences feeling surprised.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Stream now on Prime Video, AppleTv

Run Time: 1h 31m

Nightmare on Elm Street Movie, released in 1984, was an iconic work of post-’70s horror, combining an unsettling concept with terrifying scares and an unforgettable villain. While inferior sequels would later damage its legacy and degrade its image, Craven’s film remains an influential masterwork that helped set off an entire decade of bloody slasher excess.

Elm Street follows in the tradition of many other horror films by depicting a group of teenagers living in a small American town who are terrorized by an individual wearing red-and-green sweaters and bladed gloves – specifically Freddy Krueger, who appears as an antagonist throughout their dreams and real life alike. Freddy Krueger may present a real danger.

This film contains several scenes guaranteed to give audiences sleepless nights: Freddy bursting through Nancy’s mirror as she attempts to convince herself it’s only a dream; an opaque bodybag being grabbed by Wyss; and, of course, that nursery rhyme appearing both in dreams and real-life murders.

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

The Cabin in the Woods

Stream now on Prime VideoNetflix

Run Time: 1h 35m

One of the smarter horror films available, this one stands out. Packed full of references, homages, and minute details that keep audiences intrigued and engaged every time they watch, its plot is captivating with an exciting monster-mash climax sure to please audiences – though perhaps not an indisputable cinema classic, it’s worth seeing nonetheless!

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard collaborated on its script. Whedon made his directorial debut with this bold effort that successfully mocks genre cliches while remaining relentlessly entertaining.

Dana, Holden, Marty, Jules, and Curt are five conventionally attractive college students visiting an abandoned cabin in the woods for fun and partying. However, soon, they realize they are being watched and controlled by two men sitting in a control room who use drugs to manipulate and induce sexual contact among them before informing them that a series of horrific acts must be completed before the world ends. The Cabin in the Woods is an impressive and hilarious satire of horror films that is both parodic and loving at once, delighting and captivating fans of horror of all ages.

Dead of Night (1945)

Dead of Night

Stream now on Kanopy

Run Time: 1h 43m

Ealing Studios made history when they released Dead of Night in 1945 – one of their groundbreaking multi-story horror anthologies with Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, and Robert Hamer as directors assembling it. Through a clever framing device connecting five separate stories of terror, the film remains one of the most superb multi-story anthologies ever made.

This British horror anthology opens with a tale about a haunted mirror that shows an image from a Victorian rather than its owner’s modern flat, leading her weak-willed husband towards murderous intentions. While this tale might sound dated today, its melancholic ambiance creates a feeling of foreboding that showcases how adept British writers can be at creating creeping unease.

Dead of Night’s best story is undoubtedly “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy.” This segment plays off of the inherent creepiness of ventriloquism dummies. Michael Redgrave excels as Maxwell Frere – who believes his ventriloquist dummy has taken control over him, further highlighting how Dead of Night’s framing narrative gives structure and definition to its disparate components – an element most later horror anthologies could do better at.

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