14 Alternative, Modern Holiday Genre Films to Stream This Holiday Season

14 Alternative, Modern Holiday Genre Films to Stream This Holiday Season

Every holiday season, I sit down and watch the classics. Films that fill me with joy and bring together friends and family. Films like It’s a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, and Die Hard.

Make no mistake, the world is not at a loss for holiday classics, nor is it lacking in lists that include all the same movies. However, every single year brings us more and more holiday movies, many of which you never even hear about or remember. That’s the point of this list. We’ve come up with some holiday movies released in the past few years that are absolutely worth your time, are not all super obvious, and offer something other than plain old holiday nostalgia. Some of it’s violence, some of it’s action, and some of it is seeing Kurt Russell as Santa Claus or Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds singing about Christmas.

A few are deeper cuts, a few are not, but all offer an edgier, or at least alternative, spin on the typical holiday fare.

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)


Anna and the Apocalypse – Official Trailer

Anna and the Apocalypse is a high school musical set at Christmas with zombies. The music is amazing, the gore is entertaining, and the movie is beyond fun.

There’s Something in the Barn (2023)



There’s Something in the Barn is a brand new holiday horror comedy that feels like Christmas Vacation with Martin Starr playing Chevy Chase, whose family has to fight elves in Norway.

8-Bit Christmas (2021)


8-BIT CHRISTMAS – Official Trailer

8-Bit Christmas stars Neil Patrick Harris as a father who tells his child a story from his own childhood, when he went above and beyond to get a Nintendo. It’s a lovely, funny, dose of period nostalgia that would’ve been bigger had it not gone straight to streaming.

The Sacrifice Game (2023)


The Sacrifice Game | Official Trailer | Coming to Shudder

Did you hear about that new movie where a group of kids are forced to stay at a boarding school over Christmas? No, not that one. We’re talking about The Sacrifice Game, which has a similar setup to The Holdovers but a decidedly more violent genre spin.

Violent Night (2022)


Violent Night – Official Trailer

Violent Night features David Harbour as a version of Santa who has to defend a family that’s being held hostage on Christmas. It’s brutal, it’s funny, it’s exciting, and it’s getting a sequel in the coming years. This 2022 release is the most obvious film on here—but, in case you didn’t see it yet, here’s a reminder.

It’s a Wonderful Knife (2023)


It’s A Wonderful Knife Official Trailer | HD | RLJE Films | Ft. Justin Long, Joel McHale

It’s a Wonderful Knife has the genius idea of taking the setup of It’s a Wonderful Life (a dejected person wishes they’d never been born, and gets their wish) and blending it with a slasher horror movie.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)


RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE | Official Australian Trailer

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is the oldest film on our list (it’s from 2010) but it still qualifies as one of those under-appreciated and wild holiday films that’s worth revisiting this time of year. It’s about people who hunt, and capture, Santa Claus.

Spirited (2022)


Spirited — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Normally a movie featuring stars as big as Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell would have been all over the big screen. However Spirited was produced by AppleTV+ so there’s a chance maybe you missed it. It’s a modern, musical spin on A Christmas Carol that’s much more entertaining than you’re probably thinking.

Krampus (2015)


Krampus – Official Trailer (HD)

From Michael Dougherty, the man who made Trick R Treat, Krampus is an equally ghoulish take on a popular holiday. That was Halloween and this one is Christmas, once again introducing a scary new creature into the culture. Featuring an incredible cast (Toni Collette, Adam Scott), Krampus has plenty of fans already, but in case you aren’t one of them, now it’s on your radar.

Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022)


Christmas Bloody Christmas Exclusive Trailer (2022) Riley Dandy, Abraham Benrubi

Christmas Bloody Christmas is one of the smaller movies on this list, but its idea—and violence level—is anything but. The basic setup is kind of a Christmas take on Terminator as a robotic Santa Claus goes on a bloody killing spree. It’s very enjoyable but decidedly not one for the whole family.

Candy Cane Lane (2023)


Candy Cane Lane – Official Trailer | Prime Video

Candy Cane Lane is another one of those “Wait, this is a real movie?” type deals. Yes, Eddie Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Jillian Bell star in a holiday fairy tale about a family cursed by an evil elf. It’s fun, funny, and literally came out this month..

The Christmas Chronicles (2018)


The Christmas Chronicles | Official Trailer | Netflix

Few movies capture the fact streaming films don’t have the cultural relevance of theatrical films as The Christmas Chronicles. It’s a big, beautiful, energetic holiday adventure with none other than Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. Kurt Russell! Santa Claus! And he’s great in this very cute holiday film.

The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020)


The Christmas Chronicles 2 starring Kurt Russell & Goldie Hawn | Official Trailer | Netflix

In fact, The Christmas Chronicles was so well-received by those who saw it, Netflix made a sequel two years later. And it’s good! This one is directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone! Harry Potter! Chris Columbus!) and brings Goldie Hawn into the mix as Mrs. Claus.

A Christmas Story Christmas (2022)


A Christmas Story Christmas – Official Trailer

Finally, even though it’s not technically genre, I had to mention A Christmas Story Christmas. It’s a sequel to one of the all-time holiday classics, A Christmas Story, but actually brings back much of the original cast. Something other sequels did not. And guess what? It does a pretty decent job of capturing the magic of the 1983 original! So much so, it’s undoubtedly worth checking out this, or any holiday season.