5 video on demand films to watch over Christmas

Nothing but Christmas soaps on telly and all the shops are shut? Get online and get downloading these films to liven up the festive season

There's nothing on telly except for Christmas soap operas and old films you've seen a thousand times before – and the shops are shut. Fortunately, on-demand video services put a wealth of entertainment at your fingertips – here are some of our picks for Christmas.

The Woman in Black

(Netflix, iTunes)

There's nothing more festive than a Ghost Story for Christmas, and this effort from the revived Hammer Films has all the appropriate trappings – frock coats, a haunted house and a truly terrifying vengeful spirit. Starring Daniel Radcliffe in his first post-Potter role, the film's scripted by Kick-Ass writer Jane Goldman – working from the classic ghost story by Susan Hill. The winter chill isn't the only thing that'll have you shivering.

The Dark Knight Rises

(Sky Box Office, iTunes, PSN, BlinkBox)

Okay, we're the first to admit that Batman doesn't immediately spring to mind when you think of Christmas (though Batman Returns is actually set during Yuletide). But Chris Nolan and Christian Bale's final outing with the Caped Crusader does, er, feature some snowy winter scenes. And it's a fitting capstone to the Dark Knight trilogy, with some killer action scenes and a truly fearsome villain in Tom Hardy's Bane.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

(LoveFilm Instant, iTunes, BlinkBox)

It's not out on Blu-ray in the UK, but several VoD services have this bona fide Christmas classic in HD. It's a surprisingly faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens' story, considering most of the cast are made of stuffed felt – ably supported by one of Michael Caine's best performances as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge.


(Netflix, iTunes, BlinkBox)

Santa isn't the only mythical creature hanging about in the North Pole – this comedy-horror follows a gang of students as they try to track down trolls in the snowy Norwegian wilderness. Naturally, they bite off more than they can chew. A found-footage film in the style of The Blair Witch Project, Trollhunter makes clever use of the rules that govern troll encounters in fairy tales.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

(LoveFilm Instant, iTunes, BlinkBox)

CS Lewis' fantasy tale is about as Christmassy as you can get – it's got a cameo from Father Christmas himself, talking animals and a winter wonderland. But that blanket of snow hides a dark secret – the White Witch has cursed the land, and it's down to the Pevensie children to restore order. Family adventure fun, anchored by an excellent performance by Tilda Swinton as the eerie White Witch.

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