At first glance, it doesn’t seem like any big horror movies are releasing in December 2021. Delve a little deeper into the holly, jolly Christmas period, however, and there’s a multitude of captivating horror tales to be told this holiday season.
Whether you have a Shudder subscription, plan to go to theatres, or like to relax at home with a VOD purchase, there’s a big horror movie releasing in December 2021 to suit every type of scary movie fan.
If you’re after some more great movie and TV suggestions, make sure to check these out:
- The 10 Best Movies on Shudder
- 8 Anime Series That Are Perfect For Beginners
- 7 Mystery TV Shows Like Mare of Easttown
The Advent Calendar
Releases December 2 worldwide on Shudder.
Campy Christmas-horror The Advent Calendar is not. Set in France, Eva (Eugénie Derouand), an ex-dancer now in a wheelchair, receives an ornate, wooden advent calendar equipped with precise instructions. She soon realizes each door has a real-life surprise attached to it, some good, some deadly. Eva must decide whether to get rid of the sinister calendar, or follow the gruesome rules to potentially gain movement in her legs back.
This could have been yet another entry in the holiday B-Movie subcategory, which could have been an enjoyable, campy watch. Instead, writer and director Patrick Ridremont (Dead Man Talking) opted to tell a darker story. Reviews have been mostly positive, citing the movie’s creature effects, slasher elements, and Faustian themes as its best qualities.
Horror fans can decide for themselves if the dark atmosphere fits with the melodramatic premise if they have an active Shudder subscription this December.
Releases December 3 worldwide in theatres, and on AMC+.
A British Christmas horror-comedy starring Keira Knightley, Annabelle Wallis, and Matthew Goode, Silent Night follows a group of friends and their families reuniting for the holidays. It just so happens there’s a deadly force making its way across the planet at the same time, destroying everything alive in its wake.
Written and directed by Camille Griffin, the indie film looks more dark comedy than horror. Although, early reviews have actually cited the sociopolitical commentary and bleak tone as the best parts of the story. The large ensemble cast also includes Roman Griffin Davis, who won audiences over as the child star of Jojo Rabbit. Another big get for the small film is Annabelle Wallis, who makes another horror appearance in 2021, after starring in James Wan’s divisive Malignant (which could be getting a sequel). With Silent Night, Malignant, and an appearance in the Annabelle movies, Wallis is fast becoming a modern horror icon.
If Silent Night turns out as good as its cast, audiences are in for a treat of a horror movie this December 3.
Releases December 9 worldwide on Shudder.
Who’s in the mood for a Creature Feature dressed to the nines in practical prosthetics?
Death Valley follows a team of mercenaries as they battle their way through a secret underground compound in search of a trapped scientist. Who are they battling? Why a horrifying monster that looks like the Nemesis’ sibling. In fact, the whole concept of a self-destructing lab containing a gruesome secret and a group of mercenaries sounds very similar to Paul W.S. Anderson’s first Resident Evil.
Starring Jeremy Ninaber, Ethan Mitchell, and Kristen Kaster, Death Valley is written and directed by Matthew Ninaber. It’s also produced by Black Fawn Films who were also involved with the Shudder original Vicious Fun—which is exactly what Death Valley sounds like it’s going to be. Those after some action with their scares won’t want to miss this big horror release in December 2021.
Releases December 10 in US theatres and VOD.
Agnes is an indie tale in the popular possession subgenre of horror. Set at a convent, young Sister Agnes begins to act erratically, and her fellow nuns suspect a demonic possession—as you do. Veteran priest Father Donaghue and a younger priest-on-the-rise, Benjamin, are sent by the Catholic Church to investigate the incident.
While this all may sound similar to many of the Exorcist-inspired films that have been produced since its 1973 release, Agnes looks to tackle a disenfranchised take on religion that the revered horror classic was known for. Molly C. Quinn (Castle, Doctor Sleep) leads the Mickey Reece directed film as Sister Mary, a close friend of Agnes who is taking the possession particularly hard. Sean Gunn also stars, in his second big appearance in 2021, after playing Weasel in The Suicide Squad.
Anybody who enjoys the possession/exorcism genre will want to give Agnes a watch this December 2021.
Releases December 17 in US theatres.
Not everything Guillermo del Toro touches turns to horror gold, but those select projects he both writes and directs often do. Nightmare Alley is the first movie he’s turned both his pen and camera to since The Shape of Water won the Best Picture Oscar. If that’s not a compelling enough argument for horror fans to keep their eye on this film, perhaps the stacked ensemble cast will be.
The movie follows Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people. He “hooks up” with Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), a psychiatrist who might be more dangerous than he is. Carlisle charms clairvoyant Zeena (Toni Collette) and her mentalist husband Pete (David Strathairn) at a traveling carnival run by Clem Hoately (Willem Dafoe). Rooney Mara, Ron Pearlman, Richard Jenkins, and David Strathairn also star.
Based on the 1946 book of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley (co-wrote by Kim Morgan) is more of a neo-noir mystery-thriller than straight-up horror. Like del Toro has been making clear in interviews before the film’s December 17 release. The trailers are steeped in an unnerving atmosphere, however, and there’s certainly lots to appreciate from a horror perspective.
This R-rated del Toro tale seems like an intriguing, creepy delve into the various carnival personalities, with a focus on Bradley Cooper’s shady Stan. It unfortunately releases opposite Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. If it lives up to the promise of the trailers, however, Nightmare Alley could still be the best and biggest horror movie release of December 2021.