Your Alternatives to the Hallmark Channel

Photo by Isabel Cruz

By Isabel Cruz

When the end of the year rolls around, a lot of us tend to watch a particular set of movies. You know which ones, the same twenty or so Christmas/holiday/wintertime movies you can’t help but return to every year because of tradition, nostalgia, or maybe because watching them is the only way you can fully get in the spirit of the season. 

Understandably, Elf and Love Actually are not always on every watchlist. The films on this list take place during the holidays but manage to break the traditional “holiday movie” trope. They are perfect to watch during the holidays and are just as good any other time of the year because, in these films, Christmas isn’t being screamed at you but is more like a whisper from a few feet away.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Dir. Stanley Kubrick

Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut starts by focusing on the relationship of Bill (Tom Cruise) and Alice Hartford (Nicole Kidman). One night, an intoxicated fight with Alice sends Bill into the streets of New York City on an all-night excursion where he somehow finds his way into a cult of the most socially elite who dress up in capes and masks but perform the most adult acts making this something you definitely don’t want to watch in front of your parents.

Watch now on Hulu

Brazil (1985) Dir. Terry Gilliam

Brazil is Terry Gilliam’s take on a 1984-Brave-New-World dystopian society where the people exist to work and everyone is surveilled 24/7. Gilliam brings a bit of satire and comedy to what would otherwise be the completely dark story about protagonist Sam Lowry, who wants nothing more but to run away from the industrialized world with the love of his life. This movie also has the most insane, large-scale, dream-like production design which drives home the unsettling feeling Gilliam strives to give his audience.

Available to rent on Amazon

Black Christmas (1974) Dir. Bob Clark

During a Christmas party at a sorority house, the girls receive unnerving calls from an unknown caller which at first, are taken lightly by some, but in time, the girls begin to realize that the calls are deadly serious and soon get the whole town involved. Considered to be one of the first slasher films, Black Christmas mashes horror with the holidays resulting in a “Nightmare Before Christmas” type watch.

Watch now on YouTube for free!

Die Hard (1988) Dir. John McTiernan

A classic I’m sure many of us are familiar with, and if you’re not, you should be! Die Hard is one of the most quintessential action movies and even if you’re not a fan of action, it’s hard to not at least appreciate what they tried to do. Die Hard is filled with explosions, hilarious catchphrases, and a villain all villains wish they could be as cool as. Sit back and turn off your brain, I don’t doubt you’ll be entertained the whole way through!
Watch now on HBO Max

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