40 Christmas Horror Movies Ranked Worst to Best

Rudolph’s nose isn’t the only thing getting splashed with red this year!

Christmas is known for its tranquility and cheer, a seasonal reprieve from the ills of the world…making it of course a prime target of some nasty, very naughty movies. The killers in our guide to the 31 best- and worst-reviewed Christmas horror movies range from jilted psychos (Black Christmas) to fantastic beasts (Krampus) to even so-not-jolly St. Nick himself (Rare Exports). And naturally no ho-ho-horror holiday would be complete without the classics (Gremlins), alongside the new contenders banging on the window to get in (Silent Night, Better Watch Out, Anna and the Apocalypse). After gathering all the movies, we ranked them by Tomatometer, with Certified Fresh films first.

For this year, we’ve added Grinch parody The Mean One, and throwback slasher Christmas Bloody Christmas.

Go ahead and make your list, check it twice, chances are you’re not surviving this holiday night! Alex Vo

Best Christmas Movies | Worst Christmas Movies
Best and Worst Christmas Horror | Best Foreign Christmas Movies
Rotten Christmas Movies We Love | Modern Christmas Classics

#1
Adjusted Score: 101256%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#2
Adjusted Score: 93163%
Critics Consensus: Rare Exports is an unexpectedly delightful crossbreed of deadpan comedy and Christmas horror.
Synopsis: A young boy named Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his friend Juuso (Ilmari Järvenpää) think a secret mountain drilling project near... [More]
Directed By: Jalmari Helander

#3

Better Watch Out (2016)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 92638%
Critics Consensus: Carried by its charismatic young cast, Better Watch Out is an adorably sinister holiday horror film.
Synopsis: Ashley travels to the suburban home of the Lerners to baby-sit their 12-year-old son Luke at Christmastime. She must soon... [More]
Directed By: Chris Peckover

#4

Gremlins (1984)
86%

#4
Adjusted Score: 90448%
Critics Consensus: Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic.
Synopsis: A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 82300%
Critics Consensus: Anna and the Apocalypse finds fresh brains and a lot of heart in the crowded zombie genre - not to mention a fun genre mashup populated by rootable characters.
Synopsis: A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas - forcing Anna and her friends to... [More]
Directed By: John McPhail

#6

The Lodge (2019)
74%

#6
Adjusted Score: 84621%
Critics Consensus: Led by an impressive Riley Keough performance, The Lodge should prove a suitably unsettling destination for fans of darkly atmospheric horror.
Synopsis: During a family retreat to a remote winter cabin over the holidays, the father is forced to abruptly depart for... [More]

#7

The Retaliators (2021)
88%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88794%
Critics Consensus: It may not offer much they haven't seen before, but strong-stomached exploitation enthusiasts will savor The Retaliators.
Synopsis: In THE RETALIATORS, an upstanding pastor uncovers a dark and twisted underworld as he searches for answers surrounding his daughter's... [More]

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 76061%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Not even Santa Claus is safe from the evil that descends on Bailey Downs, a small town that is suddenly... [More]

#9

Hosts (2020)
83%

#9
Adjusted Score: 64461%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A family falls victim to unimaginable terror when they invite their sweet young neighbors over to celebrate Christmas Eve.... [More]
Directed By: Adam Leader, Richard Oakes

#10

Inside (2007)
83%

#10
Adjusted Score: 58279%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A scissor-wielding psychopath (Béatrice Dalle) terrorizes a pregnant widow (Alysson Paradis) on Christmas Eve.... [More]

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 81419%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the most effective holiday horror entry, but The Advent Calendar has its share of nasty treats for genre fans.
Synopsis: Eva has been paraplegic for the past three years. When her birthday arrives, she receives a strange advent calendar as... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Ridremont

#12
Adjusted Score: 81058%
Critics Consensus: A yuletide nightmare full of familial angst and slithering scares, Await Further Instructions is a genre treat that pretty much any horror fan will want in their stocking.
Synopsis: On Christmas Day, a family wakes up to find a mysterious black substance surrounding its house, and its TV screen... [More]
Directed By: Johnny Kevorkian

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 68011%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A heavy-metal fan (Santiago Segura) and a psychic (Armando De Razza) help a priest (Alex Angulo) seek the infant Antichrist... [More]
Directed By: Alex de la Iglesia

#14

The Children (2008)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 56024%
Critics Consensus: Unsettling and spine-chilling low-budget British horror, with effective and disturbing scares.
Synopsis: Two families gather at an upscale English estate in late December. Elaine (Eva Birthistle) and her sister, Chloe (Rachel Shelley),... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shankland

#15

Red Snow (2021)
75%

#15
Adjusted Score: 41170%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When an injured bat transforms into a handsome vampire, struggling horror novelist Olivia Romo hides him in her garage to... [More]
Directed By: Sean Nichols Lynch

#16

Dead End (2003)
75%

#16
Adjusted Score: 25539%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a family en route to a Christmas Eve gathering decides to takes a shortcut down a wooded road, an... [More]

#17

Christmas Evil (1980)
75%

#17
Adjusted Score: 55359%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Eavesdropping on mother turns a boy into a killer (Brandon Maggart) who roams the streets dressed as Santa Claus.... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Jackson

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 75129%
Critics Consensus: A slow-burning horror story that takes spine-tingling advantage of its setting and cast, I Trapped the Devil marks an auspicious debut for writer-director Josh Lobo.
Synopsis: Hoping for a joyful family reunion, Matt and his wife pay a surprise visit to the home of his estranged... [More]
Directed By: Josh Lobo

#19
Adjusted Score: 76965%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps it isn't quite as much fun as a movie about a murderous robot Santa ought to be, but for fans of holiday horror, Christmas Bloody Christmas is still a gift.
Synopsis: It's Christmas Eve and fiery record store owner Tori Tooms just wants to get drunk and party, until the robotic... [More]
Directed By: Joe Begos

#20

Black Christmas (1974)
71%

#20
Adjusted Score: 73557%
Critics Consensus: The rare slasher with enough intelligence to wind up the tension between bloody outbursts, Black Christmas offers fiendishly enjoyable holiday viewing for genre fans.
Synopsis: As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder),... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#21

Krampus (2015)
66%

#21
Adjusted Score: 70256%
Critics Consensus: Krampus is gory good fun for fans of non-traditional holiday horror with a fondness for Joe Dante's B- movie classics, even if it doesn't have quite the savage bite its concept calls for.
Synopsis: While the holiday season represents the most magical time of year, ancient European folklore warns of Krampus, a horned beast... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dougherty

#22

Silent Night (2021)
65%

#22
Adjusted Score: 69432%
Critics Consensus: Spending time with these characters can be a lot to ask, but Silent Night peers into the abyss with admirable aplomb.
Synopsis: From producers Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman franchise), Trudie Styler (Moon) and Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright), Silent Night follows parents... [More]
Directed By: Camille Griffin

#23

Silent Night (2012)
64%

#23
Adjusted Score: 29613%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A vicious killer dressed as Santa Claus hides in plain sight during a small town's annual Christmas festivities.... [More]
Directed By: Steven C. Miller

#24
Adjusted Score: 40876%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The joyful spirit of Christmas takes one dark turn after another -- from sadistic office parties and last-minute shopping nightmares... [More]

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 23911%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Mrs. Forrest (Shelley Winters), who's known as "Auntie Roo," has a holiday tradition of inviting orphans to her mansion for... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Harrington

#26

Saint (2010)
55%

#26
Adjusted Score: 23609%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A deadly medieval legend springs to life whenever there is a full moon on the 5th of December.... [More]
Directed By: Dick Maas

#27

Holidays (2016)
50%

#27
Adjusted Score: 50754%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nine filmmakers present horror stories that revolve around Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Christmas... [More]

#28

Red Christmas (2016)
48%

#28
Adjusted Score: 48521%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A widow and her bickering family gather at her remote estate on Christmas Eve. She must soon protect them all... [More]
Directed By: Craig Anderson

#29

Wind Chill (2007)
46%

#29
Adjusted Score: 46000%
Critics Consensus: Wind Chill is a ghost story with a clunky and unpolished script that fails to keep viewers in suspense.
Synopsis: Just before their university campus goes quiet for the winter break, a young woman (Emily Blunt) asks a classmate (Ashton... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Jacobs

#30
Adjusted Score: 44914%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An orphan raised by nuns (Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick) grows up to be a killer toy-store Santa Claus.... [More]

#31

It Cuts Deep (2020)
40%

#31
Adjusted Score: 12944%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While on Christmas vacation, a young man with commitment issues tries desperately to hang on to his relationship when a... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Santos

#32

Black Christmas (2019)
39%

#32
Adjusted Score: 44386%
Critics Consensus: Better than the 2006 remake yet not as sharp as the original, this Black Christmas stabs at timely feminist themes but mostly hits on familiar pulp.
Synopsis: Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays as students travel home to spend time with their families. But as... [More]
Directed By: Sophia Takal

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 25106%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Pushed to the breaking point, an abused woman (Kim Basinger) turns the tables on the gang of thugs who want... [More]
Directed By: Susan Montford

#34

P2 (2007)
34%

#34
Adjusted Score: 35960%
Critics Consensus: P2 is full of gore, but low on suspense, featuring a cat-and-mouse plot has been done many times before.
Synopsis: Angela (Rachel Nichols) is working late on Christmas Eve. When she finally decides to leave, she goes down to the... [More]
Directed By: Franck Khalfoun

#35
Adjusted Score: 16883%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The younger sibling of the teenager who killed while dressed as Santa carries on in his brother's bloody footsteps.... [More]
Directed By: Lee Harry

#36

The Mean One (2022)
21%

#36
Adjusted Score: 17046%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: One Christmas Eve in a sleepy mountain town, Cindy's family is killed and her Christmas is stolen by a bloodthirsty... [More]
Directed By: Steven LaMorte

#37

Black Christmas (2006)
14%

#37
Adjusted Score: 15591%
Critics Consensus: A gratuitous remake of the 1974 slasher, Black Christmas pumps out the gore and blood with zero creativity, humor, or visual flair.
Synopsis: The holiday season turns deadly for a group of sorority sisters (Katie Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Michelle Trachtenberg)... [More]
Directed By: Glen Morgan

#38

ATM (2012)
12%

#38
Adjusted Score: 12078%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A murderous assailant traps three people (Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty) in a small kiosk containing an automatic teller... [More]
Directed By: David Brooks

#39

Jack Frost (1997)
17%

#39
Adjusted Score: 17052%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As notorious serial killer Jack Frost is being driven to his execution, the truck carrying the murderer encounters a bizarre... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cooney

#40
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A crazed killer stalks college students (Laurie Lapinski, Stephen Sachs, David Snow) who gave up their vacation to clean a... [More]