To help you celebrate the festive season, the following are six brand-new Christmas movies screening in cinemas or on streaming, from action and horror to a special superhero presentation.
There aren’t many truly great Christmas movies, meaning many of us watch the same films every year, from It’s A Wonderful Like and Die Hard, to The Muppet Christmas Carol and Elf.
It’s tough to make a classic, and the last 20 years have been lousy for the holiday season, with maybe only Krampus and The Night Before joining the greats.
But this year it’s a different story, with lots of new films hitting screens big and a small, and a couple of them filled with Christmas magic. So the following are the best new Christmas movies playing in cinemas, as well as the best new holiday movies to watch in 2022 on Netflix, Apple TV, Disney+, and Shudder.
We’re starting with a big movie made with big names on a big budget. Spirited finds Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell starring in a new take on perennial festive favorite A Christmas Carol. With added songs.
Here’s what we said about Spirited in the Dexerto review: “As you’d expect from a Reynolds gig, Spirited is a meta spin on the be-kind parable, so scepticism is warranted – but the result is smart, earnest, and laudable, perhaps the most meaningful adaptation since Scrooged. Apple TV may have found its first blockbuster.”
Where to Watch: Apple TV.
A Christmas Story Chrstmas
While it failed to make much of an impression outside America, 1983 movie A Christmas Story is considered a bona fide classic in the States. Based on Jean Shepherd’s anecdotes, and set in Indiana in 1940, the film revolves around young Ralphie Parker’s efforts to secure himself a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, with hilarious results.
Peter Billingsley starred then, and again plays the character in this legacy sequel that plays out in 1973 when Ralphie lives in Chicago with a family of his own. But due to the passing of his father – aka the Old Man – Ralphie returns home to reconnect with family and friends, while trying to give his kids a magical Christmas like the ones he had as a child.
Where to Watch: HBO Max/Sky Movies.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
This “Special Presentation” isn’t quite a movie, but we loved it, so The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special makes the list. Inspired by the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, the plot finds Drax and and Mantis heading to earth to find the ultimate Christmas present for Peter – namely Kevin Bacon.
Here’s what we said in our Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special review: “James Gunn’s Marvel gift has always been how deftly he imbues the Guardians’ adventures with such a deep, pulsing heartbeat, and the Holiday Special, for all its fluffy, festive charm, is no different. The gags are good – like Drax pleading, “Stop, it tickles” in a hail of bullets – but the emotional hits are stronger, particularly as the endeavour’s true purpose (and lesson, like all Christmas movies) comes to the fore.”
Where to Watch: Disney+.
Put a Santa suit on Stranger Things star David Harbour, stick his badass version of Father Christmas in a film that combines elements of Die Hard, Bad Santa, and Home Alone, and the result is the brilliant genre mash-up Violent Night.
Here’s what we said in the Dexerto review: “The action is nasty for a Christmas movie, while the family stuff is sentimental for an action movie, but director Tommy Wirkola ensures that everyone and everything is pulling in the same direction, so the film’s sudden tonal shifts are a strength rather than a weakness. While David Harbour is one of the great movie Santas, his Claus an irresistible mixture of humbug and cheer, who ensures that Violent Night is a true Christmas cracker.”
Where to Watch: In cinemas. Seriously – go watch this one with a crowd.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol
Another Charles Dickens adaptation, this time in the shape of animated feature Scrooge: A Christmas Carol. You already know the story, but this is the official synopsis anyway: “On a cold Christmas Eve, selfish miser Ebenezer Scrooge has one night left to face his past – and change the future – before time runs out.”
Like Spirited, this is a musical, one that features the vocal talents of Luke Evans (Scrooge), Olivia Colman (Ghost of Christmas Past), Jonathan Pryce (Jacob Marley), Johnny Flynn (Bob Cratchit) and Jessie Buckley (Isabel Fezziwig).
Where to Watch: Netflix.
Christmas Bloody Christmas
We’re ending on a nasty note, via a film that certainly lives up to its title. But be warned – Christmas Bloody Christmas is something of a slog in its early scenes, which revolve around a pair of annoying hipsters arguing about music and films. Then the proverbial hits the fan, and Christmas turns truly nasty.
That’s because military tech has been used to built robotic Santas, and they are now running amok, with one such model hunting and killing on Christmas Eve. It’s brutal stuff – playing like a cross between The Terminator and Chopping Mall – but also a blast watching boring hipsters get their bloody comeuppance.
Where to Watch: Shudder.
That was our list of the best new Christmas movies playing in cinemas, as well as the best new holiday movies to watch in 2022 on Netflix, Apple TV, Disney+, and Shudder. The article was updated on December 20 to include The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special.
For movies that don’t have a festive theme, check out our list of the best movies of 2022 to watch right now.