iHorror is giving you five bloody family-gathering movies to watch while your socially distanced from your own during the holidays.
Yep, that time of year has come; the time we would’ve gathered around with our loved ones to celebrate the holidays.
Then again, let’s be honest, in normal times, we are forced to spend time with family members we don’t like—or worse; it’s our first time meeting the parents.
Let’s be honest, what’s scarier than meeting the parents?
It’s not often we see horror films that are based around family gatherings. However, it’s especially nice when you do—it can help set the mood.
In preparation for the upcoming holiday season, I’ve prepared a list of five films that I believe will help you get through your own upcoming get-together should it happen.
The Visit (2015)
Looking back, when you were a kid, you loved going to your grandparent’s house. It was a chance to get spoiled rotten and eat all the cookies you wanted. The Visit is a trip to grandma’s house that is anything but a happy one.
The Visit is a mockumentary style film where Becca (Olivia DeJonge) documents herself and her brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) as they are invited to spend a week with their grandparents who they have never met before due to their mother’s estranged relationship for 15 years after a fight.
This visit offers Becca and Tyler a chance to bond with their grandparents and find out what really happened between them and their mother.
But once the siblings arrive, things don’t seem quite right, and instantly they begin to notice strange and disturbing behavior from them.
Questions arise: Are they aliens? Are they crazy? What exactly is wrong with their grandparents and are they safe with them?
The Visit is M. Night Shyamalan’s return to mystery and suspense and he did what I thought no one could do; that is, make grandparents scary.
Ready or Not (2019)
When you marry into a family, you marry into their traditions.
Marrying into the Le Domas family means you marry into their annual tradition of playing a “game” on your wedding night. You see, the family owns Le Domas Family Games Company.
Part of the game requires the new member to draw a card from Le Bail’s puzzle box (we all know how puzzle boxes go) which names the game they need to complete before dawn, or there will be dire consequences.
Grace (Samara Weaving) is the lucky new bride, who has married into the family. The game she has “chosen” is “hide and seek.” It’s not the traditional game because unbeknownst to Grace, this version requires the family to hunt her down and kill her.
Ready or Not is just pure horror fun that delivers on the scares, the comedy and creates one bad-ass ‘final girl.’ This film will have you jumping, screaming, and wishing your family traditions were more fun.
Get Out (2017)
We all know how nerve-racking meeting the parents for the first time can be, but for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting the parents might be life-altering. Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele, finds Chris meeting his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time for the annual Armitage party.
Chris’ main worry is that because he’s an African-American and she’s white, her parents won’t approve. But she assures him that he has nothing to worry about; her father “would have voted for Obama for a third term,” if he could’ve.
Being introduced into the Armitage clan is not your typical meeting of the parent’s scenario as there is a hidden agenda. In the film, Rose’s mother, Missy, (Catherine Keener) is a hypnotherapist, who uses a technique called the “sunken place.”
Without giving too much away; you don’t want to end up there.
First, the hypnosis gets Chris to quit smoking, but he soon suspects he’s being prepped for something far more sinister.
Get Out really plays on the real fears of racism, how dark society can be, and what it would be like if you couldn’t be in control of your own body.
Get Out is one of those films that makes you think twice about meeting the parents.
Krampus is everyone’s worst nightmare; snowed-in, stuck inside with the extended family you hate with no power, not enough food, and no heat. Oh, there is also the fact that Krampus, a demonic spirit, who punishes anyone who has lost their Christmas spirit has arrived to remind the Engel family what the holidays are all about.
Krampus arrives after the youngest Engel family member, Max (Emjay Anthony) gives up on Christmas; he was humiliated for still believing in Saint Nick.
Honestly, Krampus feels like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but as a horror film. Both films play out fairly similarly with hilarious and frightening family moments. Except this film finds the Engels fighting off demonic toys, evil elves, and a demonic Jack-in-the-Box.
Krampus is the perfect film to kick off the holiday season. With any luck, its message will help you find your holiday spirit because you never know if Krampus is watching.
You’re Next (2011)
If you’re going to watch a movie over the holidays it should be You’re Next, in my opinion. It’s the perfect family gathering horror film.
The film has everything you would expect from what we are talking about: families bickering and fighting, the awkwardness of meeting the parents, a big family fight at the dinner table. Basically, a typical dysfunctional family.
You’re Next, finds Crispin (AJ Bowen) bringing his girlfriend, Erin (Sharni Vinson), to meet his entire family for the first time. The family is gathered together to celebrate his parents, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) and Paul’s (Rob Moran) wedding anniversary. Out of nowhere, the celebration is crashed by three men wearing animal masks who want them all dead. You’re Next comes with some brutal kills, suspenseful moments and one resourceful ‘final’ girl.
You’re Next may not be set on a holiday, but it sure does feel like it fits; with a big family gathering around a table, eating and fighting. Hopefully your holiday dinner doesn’t get interrupted by three masked killers.
With any luck, while you watch these five films, they will help get you in the mood for the holidays and help you to survive your own family gatherings. What are some of your favorite horror films that are centered around family gatherings?