Most Anticipated Films of 2017

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For the past two years I’ve done a post like this on one platform or another and I’ve really come to love doing them as a reminder of all the films that have come out that year as well as it aiding me to discover some of the lesser know films that are coming out. Saying that you’ll notice on this list that I’ve not included sequels or prequels, not because I’m not excited about them, but because otherwise they would massively dominate this list.  I’ve included a couple of the big blockbusters this year but again I’ve really tried to only include the ones that I’m genuinely looking forward to because I think they’ll be providing something different, or a relatively fresh take. I’d love to know whether you agree with my choices and what you’re looking forward to and I hope that there’s maybe a couple on this list that you hadn’t heard of before which you’ll now be adding to your own lists. Also I feel I have to have a disclaimer that the only reason La La Land isn’t on this list is because it was on last years list.

Okay so before we kick off properly honourable mentions go to; Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume:2, Kingsmen: The Golden Circle, Star Wars 8, Pitch Perfect 3, Thor Ragnarok, Alien Covenant, Blade Runner 49, John Wick 2, Logan.

Beauty and the Beast

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After completely falling in love with Disney’s real life adaptation of Cinderella I was already on board for whatever was coming next, by when it was announced that it was going to be my all time favourite Beauty and the Beast I was ecstatic. But even putting my own bias aside, the cast looks about as close to perfect as they could get. and the initial glimpses that we’ve seen seem to be straight out of the original film. Plus it’ll be interesting to see how the additional modern twists play out such as such as Belle being the inventor in this version as well as her refusal to wear a corset. Either way, I can’t wait.

Spiderman:Homecoming

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Considering this is the sixth Spiderman film in under 15 years and the third ‘re-imagining’ in that time you’d be forgiven for having given up hope by this point. But there’s enough elements in this new version to pique my interest such as the casting of Tom Holland who’s gynatistic ability is what is rumoured to have helped him land the part in the first place and is sure to add a sense of realism to the stunts. Not to mention the diverse casting choices including up and coming Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson and Zendaya as Michelle, an unknown character who is promised to play a major part in later films. Throw in Holland’s scene stealing introduction in Captain America: Civil War and the very promising first trailer, Marvel has managed to do it again and somehow get people excited for another Spiderman movie, lets just hope it lives up to the hype.

Baby Driver

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Edgar Wright’s latest offering sounds like it could be his most interesting to date with Ansel Engort as a baby faced getaway driver (see what they did there?) who suffers from tinnitus, so constantly has headphones in which provide the soundtrack to his life, and as a result the movie. Regardless of whether or not this ends up making the best films of 2017 list there’s one thing for certain, it’ll definitely be one of the best soundtracks.

Wonder Woman

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To say DC has been on a losing streak in regards to its recent movies is a bit of an understatement. Even Suicide Squad, which many heralded as being a return to form and the film to finally rival Marvel’s empire fell short due to terrible editing, the mess that was The Enchantress, and a plot that didn’t really exist. After the release of the Wonder Woman trailer last year DC managed to reignite fans hope with a glimpse of what looked like the adaptation that would finally do Wonder Woman justice. After initial criticism of her costume, fans were won over by seeing Wonder Woman kick ass regardless of the length of her skirt and many were excited by the possibility of seeing a well rounded, intelligent female hero taking the big screen (something that Marvel by the way has yet to do). Certainly after the initial excitement from the Suicide Squad trailer it’d potentially be a little bit foolish to place your bets just yet, but here’s hoping the 2017 is the year DC gives us the superhero film we’ve all been waiting for.

The Dark Tower

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It’s been on my bucket list for so long to make a start on this series that I’ve finally made my piece with the fact that I’ll be watching it long before I read it. I have to say though it looks so promising that I’m really not that upset about it. Based on the Stephen King series it revolves around 11 year old Jake Chambers who stumbles across a dimension called Mid-World where he encounters the lone frontiersman knight Roland Deschain and joins him on his quest to reach the Dark Tower and save Mid-World before the magician known as The Dark Man, reaches the tower to fulfil his own nefarious purposes. The film has been planned for years so here’s hoping it’s worth the wait and falls into the collection of King adaptations such as Misery, Carrie and IT as opposed to the more recent adaptation of Carrie and Under The Dome.

The Beguiled

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Sofia Coppola directs Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning as the teachers and student of a civil war era girls boarding school which is visited by Colin Farrell’s injured union soldier who slowly works his way into their hearts, much to everyone’s misfortune. Needless to say there’s more to this story than meets the eye and the combination of the director, actors and story means this rocketed to the top of my must see lists and I think has the potential to one of the most exciting films of the year.

Snatched

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Now I recognise that this isn’t exactly an award show contender but I love Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer and the idea of them playing a mother, daughter duo who get kidnapped on a holiday sounds like music to my guilty pleasure loving ears. Trainwreck was one of my favourite films of 2015 for how intelligently funny it was and Goldie Hawn is comedy royalty thanks to classics like First Wives Club and Overboard so I have high hopes that this film will be one of those rare comedies that only come along once or twice a year that is genuinely funny.

Rock That Body

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Speaking of comedies I’m hoping that this’ll be the second rarity this year as it’s packed with some of the best comedic actors of the moment Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Ty Burrell, Ilana Glazer and Jillian Bell. Five college friends reunite for a hen party weekend but their celebrations are put on hold when their plan to hire a male stripper doesn’t quite go as expected. There’s not much to go on yet aside from the odd obscured set picture but once again the cast and plot alone have me sold and it’s promising to see a studio continuing to produce female-centric comedies.

Song to Song (Previously know as Weightless)

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Terrance Malik’s latest film has been in the works for years and with an incredible A-List cast of Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett it has been on almost every movie buff’s horizon for the past year. Set against the music scene in Austin, Texas it revolves around two intersecting love stories and their struggles and betrayals in their search for success. I can’t say I’ve really been a fan of Malick’s previous endeavours but I’m really looking forward to this one as it seems like a slight change of direction, and considering the mixed reviews of his previous films I’m intrigued to see how this one turns out.

Submergence

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Alicia Vikander looks set to continue her domination of our screens this year with three films coming out but it’s this one with James McAvoy that I’m most looking forward to. As James More (McAvoy) find himself captured by Jihadists, Danielle Flinders (Vikander) is about to embark on a submersive dive down to the ocean floor. In their confines they reflect back on the previous Christmas and their chance encounter which led to an intense and enduring romance. Due to the quality of the actors I’m thinking this will be more that your average romance film and I’m really looking forward to it.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

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Based on the story by Neil Gaiman it’s about an alien who on a tour of the galaxy, breaks away from her group and meets two teenagers from the most dangerous place in the universe, Croydon. This is the second Elle Fanning/Nicole Kidman collaboration on this list and from the initial set pictures, as well as Neil Gaiman providing the story this looks to be one of the most inventive, not to mention weirdest entries on this list and probably of this year.

Free Fire

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High Rise was one of the most interesting films I saw last year and left me eager to see Ben Wheatley’s next project, and with a cast as strong as this one it was almost certainly going to make it’s way onto this list. When a gang of criminals meet up to trade arms a disagreement turns it into a full-on shootout. It so far has an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes which is usually a sure fire sign of a good thing to come and with Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley to name a few, this looks like one of the surest bets this year.

Terminal

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There’s very little to go on for this except that it stars and is produced by Margot Robbie and tells the story of two hit-men who embark on a high stakes mission for a mysterious employer and encounter Anne (Robbie) along the way and realise there’s more to her than initially appears. That’s it for information aside from a very intriguing and ominous photo of Margot Robbie as featured. I know it’s ridiculous to be pumped for a film from a photo alone, but still, damn!

Mute

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The penultimate film on this list is Duncan Jones’ latest offering which will hopefully makeup for the frankly pretty dire World of Warcraft. For his latest film he’s chosen to return to his science fiction routes of Source Code and Moon, with Mute. Set in a Blade Runner-esque Berlin in 2052 we follow mute bartender Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) who sets out to find his girlfriend Naadirah when she disappears. From the initial photos it’s obvious that Jones has created a neon, seedy underbelly of a city, and with the much anticipated Blade Runner sequel also out this year it’ll be very interesting to see how each fare, especially as Jones’ offering will be premiering on Netflix.

Ghost in the Shell/Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 

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I know this is cheating but as I tried to restrict myself to 15 entries on this list I found I couldn’t whittle them down and seeing as they’re both a little similar I decided to hell with it, I’d cheat. Both of these films are set in a space-age future with Scarlett Johansson starring as a cyborg counter-cyberterrorist in a futuristic Japan in Ghost in the Shell, whilst Valerian and his partner Laureline are space and time agents responsible for maintaining order throughout the universe. Both are leaving people a little hesistant, what with Ghost in the Shell’s controversial casting and die hard fan base and with Cara Delevinge as Valerian’s leading lady and her less than stellar screen debuts so far people are questioning whether she’ll be able to dually carry such a big film. Either way there’s enough from both initial trailers to pique my interest I just hope that my doubts turn out to be unfounded.

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24 Days of Christmas: Day 16-Arthur Christmas

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I am so so sorry we’ve had a gap in these posts, in typical Christmas tradition the last few days have been such absolute madness that I’ve barely had a minute to myself let alone to open my laptop! But rest assured I am back on track and you guys will get every single day before Christmas itself.

As we get closer and closer to the big day it’s only right to make sure my film choices reflect this and so we reach arguably one of the more modern classics on this list, Arthur Christmas.

Unbelievably this was another one that up until this year I’d never seen and I’ve been kicking myself for it, as I’ve been missing out big time. This is the perfect choice for putting on at Christmas time where you’re sitting around with your family as there’s something in it for adults and children alike. It’s the definition of a heartwarming tale as Arthur undertakes an important mission to deliver a little girl’s Christmas present, and ultimately  how his family bands together to ensure Christmas is safe for another year.

Anyone watching it in the UK will recognise at least one of the voices in the film with such great actors such as Hugh Lawrie, James McAvoy and Bill Nighy to name a few lending their voices to the characters, it just adds an extra level of familiarity to the film. It also has to be commended for giving an answer to many children’s question as to how Santa deliver his toys to every boy and girl in one night especially with an ever expanding population. For the answer though I’m afraid you’ll just have to watch it…

24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 15-Miracle on 34th Street

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The words genuine and heart-warming has been thrown around a lot this month in regards to some of the films on this list, but believe me when I say that this is the iconic film that first inspired those feelings.

Although the 1994 version will always hold a special place in my heart as I was obsessed with Mara Wilson after Matilda, it’s the 1947 version that I think truly embodies Christmas spirit.

Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is an event planner for Macy’s Department Store and after finding that her hired Father Christmas is drunk, a man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) offers to take his place. He does so well that he ends up working as the store Santa but due to his continual insistence that he is the Father Christmas he ends up committed to a mental institution, and his only option is for the court to be convinced that his is the real deal once and for all. It sounds like a slightly depressing concept initially but the real joy in the film comes from Kris (spoiler alert) convincing everyone, in particular Doris’ sceptical young daughter Susan (Natalie Wood).

Watching both young children and adults fall under Kris Kringle’s spell and rediscover their belief in him is so uplifting and enjoyable to watch, and in the end I think that’s part of the success as I believe everyone would deep down still like to believe in Father Christmas. The performances are outstanding and the natural chemistry between the characters, especially between Susan and Kris Kringle is integral to the reason this film continues to inspire people over 50 years after its release.

“Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.” It’s that optimism that runs throughout the film, and that’s why I had to include it on this list as I think that’s what people quintessentially love about Christmas, the idea that it feels like anything can happen, maybe even a miracle.

 

24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 14- Arthur Christmas

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Another one of the more modern entries on this list but I couldn’t resist including it as I think it’s one of the smartest, most genuine Christmas films I’ve ever seen.

We’re introduced to Father Christmas (Hugh Bonneville) and his two sons Steve, the focused man on the ground in charge of running Christmas operations, and Arthur (James McAvoy) his good hearted but hopeless son who is in charge of the letter department. After a terrible mistake Arthur takes it upon himself to rectify it, and with his GrandSanta (Billy Nighy) and a wrapping elf named Bryony (Ashely Jensen) he sets off to ensure that no child will ever be without a gift on Christmas.

The thing I like most about this film is how it plays on the traditional Christmas myths such as making ‘Santa’ a title which is passed down, and the ingenious explanation as to how Father Christmas manages the incredible feat of delivering presents to all the children across the world in one night.

The recognisable voices add a sense of inherent likability to the characters, as although you might not be able to name the actor, you know the voice and relate to the character as a result. The family focus of the film and Arthur’s determination to deliver the forgotten present means it’s truly heartwarming to watch, but also manages to create genuine sentiment which is what makes it so enjoyable too. It’s such a witty and intelligent film that it makes it a perfect choice for both adults and children and is a sure fire way to keep everyone happy on Christmas day.

24 Days of Christmas:Day 13- Nativity

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It’s around this time every year that one of the most important parts of the run-up to Christmas takes place, and that is the Nativity.

For those of us in the UK it’s something we hold dear to our hearts, and usually with bittersweet memories of the terrible parts we got. Although kudos to you if you managed to bag the coveted Gabriel/Mary/Joseph roles, 6 year old me was quite put out being a narrator.

It’s a wonder that it took so long for someone to make a film about such a beloved right of passage, and as a result it’s no surprise that this is arguably one of the most successful Christmas films of recent years. We start with three friends at theatre school Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman),  his girlfriend Jennifer Love (Ashley Jensen) and their friend Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) as they’re about to perform a show. We then flick to a few years later and Paul and Jennifer have split up with her pursuing a career in Hollywood as a producer, whilst Gordon works for a prestigious school running their highly regarded Nativity every year. Paul works in a lesser performing school and by an act of misfortune is placed in charge of the Nativity this year,with the headmistress’s childish nephew Mr. Poppy (Marc Wootton) to help him. After hearing a chance encounter between Paul and Gordon, where Paul is goaded into bragging that a team of Hollywood producers are coming to see their show, Mr. Poppy spreads the exciting news until  the whole town knows. The only problem is that Paul was telling a big fat lie, and that he now has less that a month to contact and convince Hollywood bigwigs to come to see the show…

The success of the film is largely down to the stellar performances of the children who manage to be both incredibly cute and adorable without being sickly sweet, and give great overall performances. Of course the majority of the film is building up to the final performance and to see whether Hollywood does arrive, and boy is it worth the wait. The songs put ‘Away In A Manger’ to shame, and I defy anyone to not attempt to sing along so catchy are the songs, with ‘Nazarus’ and ‘Sparkle And Shine’ being my personal favourites.

Due to the subject matter and performances it’s truly a heartwarming film and the perfect choice for reigniting the nostalgia of childhood, and what you used to love about Christmas. It’s the perfect time to watch it to get you into the Christmassy mood, as even if you’re too old to have your own Nativity this is one you can enjoy again and again. Plus if you’re going to be brutally honest with yourself, you know your Nativity was never this good.

24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 12-A Charlie Brown Christmas

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This is an oldie but a goodie. While my sister and I never really watched the Peanut cartoons when we were little (I preferred the comics), my mother used to love them and it was a love she used to try to pass on by encouraging us to watch this every year.

With imaginative, relatable characters and iconic music it’s not surprising that A Charlie Brown Christmas is something that still manages to compel children, long after they’ve transitioned into adulthood. It’s surprising re-watching it as an adult how profound the message is behind this short film, as when I was little all I noticed was the Charlie Brown was sad about Christmas. But as an adult I realised that it’s actually the widespread of commercialism that’s got Charlie down, and is the cause as to why he throws himself into directing the Christmas play, although alas to no avail. As Charlie’s friends come together and we see Charlie realise that there is still more to Christmas than shopping and presents, it’s not just Charlie’s spirits who are raised. Whilst Linus’ recitation of Luke 2:8-14 highlights the simple intentions of what Christmas should really be about, peace and goodwill to all men.  Whether you’re religious or not it’ll have a different impact for you, but as someone who is the latter I love this reference as it brings me back to my childhood performing the Nativity, and the genuine joy and promise that Christmas would bring every year.

At its core that is what a Charlie Brown Christmas is all about, characters coming together in a touching and sentimental way to remind us what should be most important at Christmastime, and that is something that I think we sometimes need to be reminded of.

 

24 Days of Christmas Film: Day 11- Scrooged

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There have been over 20 film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ famous novella which would allow me to fill this list rating those alone. Unlike most popular subject matter that spawns countless adaptations, a majority of these adaptations are actually very deserving of a place on this list. So I gave it my absolute best to whittle them all down to the versions that I thought had the most to give, and with that we start with Scrooged.

It’s a kooky, kitsch version of the traditional tale with a dash of consumerism too as Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a selfish television executive whom on the premise of his live TV version of A Christmas Carol is visited by three ghosts of his own to teach him a lesson. But these aren’t like any Christmas ghosts you’ve seen before as Frank is visited by a manic taxi driver, a verging psychopathic fairy, and a version of death who’s genuinely still scares me at 23 years of age.

As a result the first two thirds of the film are incredibly funny, and due to great performances from the whole cast make the Ghost of Christmas Future’s predictions all the more heart-breaking. It says a lot about the quality of the film that it manages to deliver great, consistent comedy, but also has the emotional pull to make the visions of the Ghost of Christmas Future truly horrifying to the audience. In my opinion it’s often this believability of the character’s relationships that drives the success of any Christmas Carol adaptation, as without it it makes the celebratory ending feel flat and false, and most importantly a lot less festive!

Scrooged is essentially A Christmas Carol and you’re not going to get much more Christmassy than that, plus it has the bonus of being a genuinely fantastic film. It’s perfect for the family members who are sick of the typical Christmas films and fancy a great laugh. Plus did I mention Billy Murray’s in it?!

24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 10-The Night Before

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Gather round children there’s a tale to be told, of an orphan and his friends and holidays old. The boy was so sad his dear friends did think, I know what’ll fix it, a damn great big drink! From that Christmas Eve On, they’d have high-jinks and drink, un-til their friendship did near reach it’s brink.

As this film opens with a holiday rhyme I thought I’d give my hand to attempting one, so please bear with me. This is the most modern film on this list and I tell you know, is definitely one for fans of Seth Rogen’s stoner movies, and those who like their Christmas films with drugs, parties, the odd song and dance number and a lot of inappropriate humour.

We meet Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Ethan on Christmas Eve just after his parents have died and his friends Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Antony Mackie) decide to take him out to cheer him up, and so a Christmas tradition is born. But years later as Chris is a rising major league football star and Isaac is about to have his first child, they decide that this year is to be their final hurrah. As luck(or a Christmas miracle) would have it, Ethan finds three tickets to The Nutcracker Ball, a party they heard about that first Christmas Eve but is so exclusive they’ve been unable to track it down or get hold of an invite, until now.

It has an amazing cast for comedy fans from Ilana Glazer, Mindy Kaling, Michael Shannon, Lizzy Caplan, and of course in true Seth Rogen fashion, James Franco. I kind of can’t help but think of it as a millennials version of a Christmas film, but that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. It’s pretty funny and the three leading men have enough chemistry between them to convincingly carry the film, but it does lack the convincing sentiment and good-cheer of other classic Christmas films.

Overall the younger members of your family and your friends will enjoy the final party and the sometimes extremely random cameos (here’s looking at you Miley), but this is not one for the parents and extended family. It has it’s highs and lows, but overall I think it’s a great change from the typical Christmas film and one that’s well worth watching this holiday season.

 

24 Days of Christmas: Day 9- Bad Santa

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Warning: today’s choice is most definitely not one to watch with the family, not unless they are very liberal.

If you’re looking for a conventional film full of holiday cheer and good-will this is not the one for you. Whereas if you like your Santa with a touch of alcoholism and swearing then step this way!

My mother is a self confessed ‘Grinch’ at Christmas and as a result she loves this film. Billy Bob Thornton plays the aforementioned Bad Santa who with his partner in crime elf Marcus (Tony Cox), use their positions as an store Santa and his helper to rob a different department store every year. I won’t say anything else except there’s plenty of interesting characters including a barmaid with a Santa fetish, a child who’s a few chocolates short of a full advent calendar and a wise cracking security guard.

It’s a lewd, outrageous and weird film, but the reason behind the film’s success is that it’s just really bloody funny. The humour is darker than a lump of coal but it is endlessly quotable, and still manages to deliver on the Christmassy feels without any cheesiness.

It’s ideal for people like my mum who find the idea of any cheese or sentiment at Christmas intolerable, or for those who fancy something different than a typical Christmas film, or just a really good laugh.

24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 8- An ode to the Christmas Horror Film

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I knew I wanted a horror film on this list but when it came to what film to include I couldn’t decide as they all seemed as equally bad/good. So I thought why not dedicate a whole post to the massively underrated genre of Christmas horror films (insert heavy dose of sarcasm here).

In all seriously though I do genuinely love a horror film at Christmas as I don’t think there’s a better way to count your blessings than to see someone on screen literally have the worst Christmas ever. You might be unlucky such as in the case of Krampus and your family is being hunted by a horned demon from folklore and his evil elves,  or maybe your new pet has spawned evil lizard skinned creatures such as in Gremlins, or maybe it’s just that your sorority house has just been revisted by the cannibalistic son who used to live there as in Black Christmas. Either way as an audience member you’ll realise you have a lot of blessings to count.

You certainly won’t find the smartest or scariest horror films in this genre but they’re the perfect guilty pleasure films, and sometimes the source of a good laugh considering how laughably bad some of them are.

Not to mention that there’s a film for someone on either end of the horror film fan scale, from Gremlins which definitely errs on the black comedy side of things, to the original Black Christmas which provides jump scares whilst the remake is a full on slasher flick. Other highlights (or lowlights depending on your preference), include Jack Frost where a serial killer comes back as a killer snowman, Silent Night Zombie Night (pretty self explanatory there), or one of the many evil Santa films, you’ll find the perfect film for every type of horror fan.

After today we’ll be returning to the typical Christmas genre films but I just thought I’d include a few suggestions for someone looking for something a little different this Christmas time (and maybe a little scare). Please, please, please let me know if you’ve seen any of these films, or whether you have a personal favourite horror film as I’d love to know if there’s any other hidden gems out there!