Binge-watching as many Christmas movies as possible may be one of our favorite ways to get in the holiday spirit. We love the best-known classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and Home Alone as much as anyone. We also have a soft spot for some unusual, underrated Christmas movies – great flicks that may not immediately come to mind when you think of Christmas films.
5 Unlikely Movies You Should Watch Before Christmas
Rounding up five of our favorite alternative and unconventional Christmas movies. This list includes Christmas-themed thrillers, action flicks, fantasy movies set at Christmas time, and more.
# 1 | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
There’s no place like Christmas at Hogwarts! Legitimately the greatest Christmas movie of all time, the snow looks way more festive than it should be. If the qualification is that the film in question has to take place during Christmas, most of the Harry Potter films technically pass. Probably one of the largest franchises to exist, this movie introduced viewers to a magical white Christmas at Hogwarts.
# 2 | Die Hard
It also has retroactively been called one of the best Christmas films. Dubbed one of the finest action pictures ever made, Die Hard follows Bruce Willis in a Christmas Eve battle royale. He stands against Alan Rickman and a team of heavily armed terrorists atop Nakatomi Plaza. Becoming an unexpected box office smash, the movie also received four Academy Awards nominations while launching Willis’ career as an action hero.
# 3 | Gremlins 2
Although it doesn’t have much of a plot to speak of, just more of a set-up in which countless gremlins multiply in a New York skyscraper, Gremlins 2 has a wicked and knowing sense of humor. It depicted corporate culture during the 1990s and beyond. Aside from that, it also has a scene that used meta-humor where film critic Leonard Martin (playing himself) is eviscerated by the creatures after denouncing the original film, as he had in real life.
#4 | Black Christmas
Bob Clark’s decidedly darker Christmas movie (he also made perennial family-friendly favorite A Christmas Story) is a gnarly little thriller. An anonymous psycho-killer stalking and preying on a group of sorority sisters. Although there are remakes in 2006 and 2019, they turned out to be half-hearted creations. The 2006 remake became a geeky splatterfest that retains none of the mystery, cleverness, and menace of the original. Meanwhile, the 2019 remake lazily attempted to turn Black Christmas into a tale of female empowerment. So, be sure to check out the 1974 original.
# 5 | Krampus
With a deft balance of humor and scares, Krampus has an overqualified cast including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner. Set in modern suburbia and tells of the titular ancient European folk beast’s takeover of a dysfunctional family holiday. Although it remains a fairly family-friendly PG-13-rated flick, it is scary enough to satisfy horror fans despite the lack of graphic scenes.
Honorable Mentions: Carol, Trading Places, Lethal Weapon, Brazil, LA Confidential, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Eyes Wide Shut, In Bruges, Iron Man 3, American Psycho, and Better Watch Out. Let us know what you think!
Angela Grace P. Baltan has been writing professionally since 2017. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. Aside from that, she has an affinity for writing anything under the sun. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, the LGBTQIA+ community, and mental health among others.