9 Recent Holiday Horror Movies for Streaming and Screaming

9 Recent Holiday Horror Movies for Streaming and Screaming

Movies like Silent Night, Deadly Night and Gremlins are go-to Christmas horror classics. But that doesn’t mean that filmmakers haven’t kept up the ghoulish spirit of the season in more recent years. For this list, we’re looking back no farther than 2015 to find recent holiday horror to fill your stocking.

Better Watch Out (2017)

Tasked with babysitting horny 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller from Pan and A Wrinkle in Time), 17-year-old Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) puts up a good front as he clumsily tries to put the moves on her. But an evening of horror movies and pizza soon turns dark as it becomes clear that someone is trying to either freak them out or legitimately harm them. With rapid-fire turns keeping things moving at a brisk pace (even through Luke’s most cringe-inducingly awful moments), Better Watch Out — an Australian production in which everyone does American accents; it’s also sprinkled with Home Alone references ends up being much nastier than it initially appears. Bonus points for casting Patrick Warburton and Virginia Madsen as Luke’s parents, and Stranger ThingsDacre Montgomery as Ashley’s ex-boyfriend. (Streaming on Shudder)

The Lodge (2019)

Directing team Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mummy), who both co-wrote with Sergio Casci, unleash a torrent of psychological torture in this devastating tale. It’s about a cult survivor named Grace (Fury Road’s Riley Keough) who’s eager to spend Christmas with her fiancé (Richard Armitage) and his children (It’s Jaeden Martell, Eternals’ Lia McHugh), even though it involves spending the holiday at an isolated cabin in the middle of a snowstorm. There’s also the fact that the kids blame her for their mother’s death, since she took her own life after their dad said he was getting remarried. An atmosphere of doom hangs over The Lodge as Grace, left alone with the scheming kids, starts to succumb to cabin fever as memories of her past begin to vividly haunt her. Gorgeously made and grim as hell. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

The Advent Calendar (2021)

Writer-director Patrick Ridremont’s new release has a memorable protagonist in Eva (Eugénie Derouand), a former ballerina who was paralysed from the waist down after an accident, and must constantly battle micro-aggressions about her condition at work and in her social life. When her best friend gives her an antique advent calendar, it soon reveals its peculiar Twilight Zone quality: alongside candy and trinkets, it doles out supernatural miracles and startling horrors as it counts down to a truly twisted finish. (Streaming starting December 2 on Shudder)

Black Christmas (2019)

No remake or reboot could ever top the 1974 original, but this most recent Black Christmas fares far better than the 2006 attempt, and taken on its own it’s actually rather entertaining. Sophia Takal directed and co-wrote with April Wolfe, and they bring a feminist sensibility to this updated spin on the “sorority sisters menaced by a stalker over the holidays” story. Imogen Poots (Vivarium) and Aleyse Shannon (Charmed) star as college students who discover there’s something distinctly rotten about their school, starting with its murderous allegiance to the patriarchy. (Streaming on Netflix)

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

As the holidays approach, a teenage girl and her friends ponder their life choices in this lighthearted musical. Then, suddenly, ZOMBIES ATTACK! The songs, however, keep right on rolling along with the sudden influx of gore. This genre mash-up from director John McPhail has energy to spare and an appealing young cast led by Ella Hunt (Dickinson). It also features Paul Kaye (Thoros of Myr on Game of Thrones) as a jerky school principal. Truly, there’s no other Christmas movie quite like it. (Available to rent on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and other streamers.)

Mercy Christmas (2017)

When shy, lonely office drone Michael (Steven Hubbell) gets an unexpected invitation to celebrate his favourite holiday with his pretty new co-worker and her seemingly perfect family, he happily accepts. However, the tables soon turn in this darkly comedic tale when he realises what’s on their Christmas menu… or rather, who’s on their menu. (Adding insult to the nightmare: his sadistic boss is part of this hungry clan, and forces him to crunch some last-minute numbers before the big meal.) Brutal and yet somehow a firm lesson in the importance in maintaining one’s holiday spirit, Mercy Christmas also contains maybe cinema’s first-ever use of eggnog as a weapon. (Streaming on Paramount+)

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

This anthology film — with stories that loop together rather than being self-contained — brings us to the small, snowy town of Bailey Downs on Christmas Eve, where various townsfolk are about to learn that the true meaning of the season is… sheer horror. There’s a group of kids kids poking around a haunted school basement for their true-crime documentary, a greedy family paying a spontaneous visit to a rich old aunt, and another family sneaking onto private land to steal a Christmas tree, plus a story about Santa Claus dealing with a zombie elf rebellion and William Shatner (the only big name involved here) playing a progressively boozy local radio host. There are some decent jump scares in A Christmas Horror Story, though the movie is best-remembered for featuring maybe the most buff Krampus ever committed to celluloid. (Streaming on Shudder)

Krampus (2015)

Speaking of Krampus, we just featured this movie’s antagonist in our list of scariest holiday monsters. Its take on the anti-Claus may lack distracting six-pack abs, but it’s definitely overflowing with creepy old-world terrors. Adam Scott and Toni Collette lead a surprisingly good ensemble cast as parents whose family receives a violent refresher on the true meaning of Christmas. (Purchase on Apple TV)

Silent Night (2021)

We’ll have a full review of this one next week, but Silent Night starts off like a pretty typical Christmas movie — a family gathers at a country home to celebrate the holiday while trying not to brawl over their various long-simmering quarrels and beefs — until it becomes clear that it’s their last night on Earth as an apocalypse closes in. The ensemble cast includes Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. (In theatres soon)