Not every Christmas film has to be filled with the same cliches and heartwarming moments, here are ten alternative Christmas films to get you into or through the season of goodwill.
Plot: An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
Director: John McTiernan
Released: February 1989
NYPD cop John McClane goes on a Christmas vacation to visit his wife Holly in Los Angeles where she works for the Nakatomi Corporation. While they are at the Nakatomi headquarters for a Christmas party, a group of robbers led by Hans Gruber take control of the building and hold everyone hostage, with the exception of John, while they plan to perform a lucrative heist. Unable to escape and with no immediate police response, John is forced to take matters into his own hands. Written by Sam
Plot: A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a festive demon to his family home.
Director: Michael Dougherty
Released: December 2015
When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) gets disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Meanwhile, this lack of festive spirit unleashes the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for one another if they hope to survive.
Read my review here.
Plot: During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.
Director: Bob Clark
Released: October 1975
It’s time for Christmas break, and the sorority sisters make plans for the holiday, but the strange anonymous phone calls are beginning to put them on edge. When Clare disappears, they contact the police, who don’t express much concern. Meanwhile, Jess is planning to get an abortion, but boyfriend Peter is very much against it. The police finally begin to get concerned when a 13-year-old girl is found dead in the park. They set up a wiretap to the sorority house, but will they be in time to prevent a sorority girl attrition problem? Written by Ed Sutton
Read my review here.
Office Christmas Party
Plot: When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his branch, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand…
Released: December 2016
It is a few days to Christmas but you wouldn’t really know it at the Chicago branch of Zenotec. Due to political correctness and the overzealousness of HR, there is very little in the way of celebrations. A quiet get-together is arranged but this is cancelled when the uptight, money-is-everything CEO (who happens to be the branch manager’s sister) puts the kibosh on it. She also intends to retrench 40% of the staff at the branch. In a last-ditch attempt to save the staff their jobs, the branch manager tries to land a major client. In order to show the client that they’re not cold and uncaring, he (without his sister knowing) throws a huge Christmas party and invites the client. Things could get rather festive, as long as HR doesn’t have anything to do with it. Written by grantss
Plot: A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.
Director: Joe Dante
Released: December 1984
Minature green monsters tear through the small town of Kingston Falls. Hijinks ensue as a mild-mannered bank teller releases these hideous loonies after gaining a new pet and violating two of three simple rules: No water (violated), no food after midnight (violated), and no bright light. Hilarious mayhem and destruction in a town straight out of Norman Rockwell. So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repairman, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. ‘Cause you never can tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house. Written by ahmetkozan
Plot: Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Released: April 2008
The Irish hit-men Ken and Ray are sent by the Londoner mobster Harry Waters to the medieval Belgium city of Bruges in Christmas after an awry job in a London church. Ray bungles it. While Ken enjoys the historic city, Ray feels completely bored and misses his home. Ray meets the small-time drug-dealer and crook Chloë, who sells the drug to the cast and crew of a movie that is filmed in Bruges, and has an incident with a Canadian tourist and later with Chloë’s boyfriend. Meanwhile, Harry, who has a stringent code of principles, gives Ken special orders. Written by Claudio Carvalho
Plot: An artificial man, who was incompletely constructed and has scissors for hands, leads a solitary life. Then one day, a suburban lady meets him and introduces him to her world.
Director: Tim Burton
Released: July 1991
A kind inventor is almost finished piecing together his latest creation when fate prevents him from completing his most important project. Edward may seem dangerous, with scissors instead of hands, but when a compassionate Avon lady comes calling, it’s clear that things are going to be changing for him after having been alone in the large empty mansion. What they both don’t realize is that the most important change of all won’t be found in him but in the residents of the sleepy suburb he will be calling home and a young teenage girl whose eyes will be opened. Written by Leah Fugere
Plot: A wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.
Director: Mary Harron
Released: April 2000
Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence. Written by Lion Films
Eyes Wide Shut
Plot: A New York City doctor embarks on a harrowing, night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife reveals a painful secret to him.
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Released: September 1999
After his wife, Alice, tells him about her sexual fantasies, William Harford sets out for a night of sexual adventure. After several less than successful encounters, he meets an old friend, Nick Nightingale – now a musician – who tells him of strange sex parties when he is required to play the piano blindfolded. All the men at the party are costumed and wear masks while the women are all young and beautiful. Harford manages to find an appropriate costume and heads out to the party. Once there, however, he is warned by someone who recognizes him, despite the mask, that he is in great danger. He manages to extricate himself but the threats prove to be quite real and sinister. Written by garykmcd
The Last Boy Scout
Plot: A private detective’s protected female witness is murdered, prompting him and the victim’s boyfriend to investigate the crime that leads to a corrupt politician and a crooked football team owner.
Director: Tony Scott
Released: February 1992
When the girl that detective Joe Hallenback is protecting gets murdered, the boyfriend of the murdered girl (ex-football player Jimmy Dix) attempts to investigate and solve the case. What they discover is that there is deep-seated corruption going on between a crooked politician and the owner of a pro football team. Written by Jason Ihle