Winter horror is its own subgenre, mirroring the isolation and eeriness of fresh fallen snowscapes with the chilling horrors that lurk in the warm sanctity of shelter, these films have their own cold loneliness. Let's face it, for many of us, the fleeting daylight and the bitter cold make for a dangerous combination that leads to all night marathons of your favorite horror movies. Well, today we have three icy delights that may have been looked over initially but are such to bring a shudder to your cold hearts this winter season.
1. The Lodge
The Lodge is a 2019 psychological horror film, brought to life by director duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, that follows a young soon-to-be stepmother Grace (Riley Keough) as she becomes stranded at her fiancé's rural lodge with his two children during Christmas. As the snowfall piles around them and they attempt to channel the holiday spirit, a dark and sinister evil seems to be descending upon them and after a series of unexplained phenomenon that invoke Grace's troubled past rear their ugly heads, she is left questioning if she will make it through this Christmas at all.
This film really invokes the isonalist tones of winter in a powerful way. The idea of being stuck in this liminal space, detached from reality and humanity, is evoked effortlessly through picturesque growing snowscapes and claustrophobic shots indoors. It deeply studies the snapping point of the human psyche and is jam-packed with twists that will leave your head spinning. Bolstered further with knockout performances from Jaeden Martell and Riley Keough, this snowy slow-burn mind-bender will leave you stunned with mouth agape by the time it reaches its icy final act. You can enter The Lodge on Max currently.
2. The Wolf of Snow Hollow
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a 2020 horror/comedy, directed by and starring Jim Cummings, that explores a small Utah community that is being terrorized by what is seemingly a werewolf. Father and son Sheriff and deputy duo, the Hadley's, are reeling as a series of murders in their sleepy Utah town are trademarked by unusual occurrences like mutilated corpses and paw prints. Dealing with their own personal struggles, the father and son protagonist's try to keep a handle on a town careening by tragedy while trying to get to the bottom of some of the most bizarre crimes they have every seen.
The film does a great job of really balancing horror and comedy in a way that many can't seem to pull off. There is plenty of levity and laughs mixed in around an otherwise truly horrifying string of murders. While it does deliver on the promise of a supernatural and spooky mystery, it also has a lot to say about small town living, a relationship between father and son, and the challenges of aging and declining health all set to the backdrop of a sultry Utah winter. The final reveal of the great mystery really sticks the landing as well, making this a can't miss and underutilized addition to any winter list this year. You can rent this VOD across several platforms this winter.
3. The Blackcoat's Daughter
The Blackcoat's Daughter is a 2017 mystery horror directed by the always tricky Oz Perkins. It follows a troubled and peculiar young woman's (Emma Roberts) trek through the dead of winter back to a prep school where two other students (Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton) face a looming and sinister presence of evil. The film plays out like a tightly wound mystery novel, revealing more critical information to the viewer bit by bit until its jaw-dropping finale.
The Blackcoat's Daughter really dips into the supernatural and mystery elements of horror, just feeding viewers breadcrumbs to guide them to the final act. It is an early A24 film that beat the hype and buzz that the company gets with most releases these days. The plot is split into three separate timelines so it does take some intent to really feel the culmination of the convergence of the three. This is an intense and dramatic watch and it does require some attention to detail. Buoyed by three excellent performances from strong female powerhouses, this film really brings that cold edge and makes you feel the desolation and chill of winter unlike very few things can. The final act is a crescendo of dread and terror as you finally put the pieces in place. There are few films that are more fitting for a quiet and lonely winter night and you can stream it on MAX.