Winter horror may be the best seasonal horror of them all. After all, what’s more chilling (literally) than a scary movie set during a snow storm?
I personally love to snuggle up on the couch with my dog, a fuzzy blanket and a cup of hot tea, all while watching a horror film set during the dead of winter.
Winter horror movies
While this is by no means a definitive list, I will be discussing a few of my favorites, and I’ll also tell you where you can stream them.
I already recommended some good holiday horror, and several of those films are set in snowy climates. We’re talking films such as Rare Exports (on Tubi, Shudder and Hulu), Krampus (available for rental on Amazon Prime) and A Christmas Horror Story (Shudder).
The Children – This British horror film is set during the New Year holiday, as Jonah, Elaine and their three kids travel to visit Elaine’s sister Chloe and her family in their secluded home. Almost immediately upon the family’s arrival, young Paulie becomes ill. By that evening, all of the younger children are sick and vomiting, and the viewer starts to figure out that this is no ordinary childhood illness.
Eventually, The Children erupts into violent bloodshed, with the kids killing their parents, and teenage Casey takes charge to try and save those who remain. Much of the film is set outdoors, which is covered in a blanket of snow. And hey, is there any better canvas to show off the bright redness of blood than sparkling white, pristine snow?
The Children can be streamed for free on Tubi.
Frozen – Three years before Elsa, Anna and Olaf charmed children everywhere, another film was released with the same title. Three friends take a skiing trip to a New England resort, where a big snow storm is about to hit, and convince the ski lift operator to let them go back up one more time before closing down for the weekend.
In one of those “it only happens in the movies” flukes, the three end up stranded high up in the air as the lift is stopped, and the lights shut off. Did I mention a big storm is on its way? Emma Bell (The Walking Dead), Shawn Ashmore (The Following) and Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead remake) play the three main characters, and their performances take the quality of this film up a few notches.
Frozen is my favorite type of horror film, one that gets you attached to the characters and pulls at your heart strings. Make no mistake though, things get brutal as the three friends realize their predicament; they are stuck in freezing temperatures with no food or shelter, and it’s going to be several days before there is any possibility of rescue. Without really giving any hardcore spoilers, an attempt to leap down into the soft snow goes horribly wrong.
Frozen can be seen on Tubi.
For those who like their wintry horror a bit on the lighter side, I suggest checking out Dead Snow. It’s a super-bloody comedy/horror hybrid set in snowy Norway, and features Nazi zombies. That’s right, you read that correctly: Nazi zombies.
A group of friends visit a remote snow-covered cabin, where a hiker shows up with an interesting story. After suffering torment at the hands of Nazis during World War II, the local townspeople rebelled and killed most of the soldiers. Those who escaped with the townspeople’s valuables were believed to be dead in the mountains.
Spoiler alert: the soldiers are not dead, at least not fully so, and the friends are attacked by the undead after they discover a wooden box filled with gold and other valuables. Dead Snow is a fun, extremely bloody flick, and the characters fighting for their lives in the snow render it a perfect winter horror choice.
Dead Snow can be rented on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Wind Chill is another British horror film, starring Emily Blunt and Ashton Homes as two unnamed students who ride share to travel home for Christmas. Though the two have never met, he seems to know a lot about her.
After a car accident, the two students are trapped in their car in a snowdrift, and that’s when things get scary. A police officer comes across them, but it becomes clear that he is not one of the good guys, and, in fact, it turns out he just may be a vengeful ghost.
The cop keeps popping up to terrorize the two, always accompanied by the sound of Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and things get more dire as the night goes on.
Wind Chill can be rented on Amazon Prime.
30 Days of Night is based on a comic book series, and stars Josh Hartnett as the sheriff of Barrow, Alaska, a small remote town preparing to endure 30 straight days of no sunlight.
Sounds like the perfect winter horror film, and the perfect town for a group of ravenous vampires to invade, doesn’t it?
On the first day of full darkness, a band of blood suckers attack and kill most of the town’s residents, but Sheriff Eben, along with his estranged wife Stella and younger brother Jake are among the survivors. The group holes up in an attic, but must venture out for supplies during a blizzard, and that’s when disaster really strikes.
30 Days of Night is populated with interesting characters that you actually care about and the plotline is interesting and intense. Of course, the setting makes it a great choice for winter horror; I mean, is there any place more wintry than Alaska?
30 Days of Night can be streamed on Pluto TV or rented on Amazon Prime.
The next time the temp drops, pick a film from this list and watch some chilling winter horror.
What are your favorite winter horror films? Give us your cold weather suggestions in the comments section.