All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018)
Written By: AC
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: David Ian McKendry & Rebekah McKendry
Producers: Kevin Kale
Writers: David Ian McKendry & Rebekah McKendry
Date Released: December 4, 2018
Ashley Clements as Jenna
Jocelin Donahue as Alissa
Jonathan Kite as Chet
Catherine Parker as Sasha
Constance Wu as Gabby
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The anthology consists of five short stories which are:
1. The Stockings Were Hung
2. Dash Away All
3. All Through the House
4. Arose Such a Clatter
5. In a Twinkling
All the Creatures Were Stirring is a Shudder exclusive Christmas-themed anthology by husband and wife duo David and Rebekah McKendry. The frame story is about a couple on an awkward date because they are both orphans and it’s Christmas Eve. They go to a small theater to see a surreal play and encounter some strange people. It’s always hard to end the frame story and I liked how this film did it without seeming too abrupt. Without giving too much away, I’ll run through the five short stories from worst to best.
Arose Such a Clatter: Guy is driving late at night on backroads to visit a woman for unspecified reasons. He has an accident on the way and things go from bad to worse. This one had a fun concept but the story was badly written and it was too short.
In a Twinkling: Steve wants to be alone on Christmas Eve but his pushy girlfriend Gabby shows up unexpectedly with friends in tow. Turns out the man wanted to be alone for a good reason and it’s one you won’t see coming. I actually think this one went on too long but it had the biggest star of the film (Constance Wu) and a sweet ending.
All Through the House: Chet hates Christmas and wants everyone to be as miserable as he is. When his neighbor comes over to ask for a donation for his son’s school, Chet tells him off. But as the night wears on, mysterious happenings cause Chet to have a change of heart. This short is the most familiar ‘Christmas Story’ and has a happy ending, which serve as a nice midway point in the film.
The Stockings Were Hung: The opening story is about an office Christmas party that goes very wrong. This one seemed to have the highest production value, but there were too many characters presented too quickly for any of the plot points to have any real meaning. I think anthology stories work best with few characters and in a contained setting.
Dash All the Way: Eric is heading to his car after picking up some last-minute things from the mall. His family is waiting for him at home to celebrate the holiday. Somehow, he locks his keys in his car and is forced to wait in the parking lot for help. Two mysterious women in a van offer him company and a drink…but at a price. I liked this story best because I truly did not know what those women were up to and it was intriguing enough to hold my attention all the way through.
This film has very little gore with the exception of the first story, which had the most by far. The fourth story also had some blood, but it was over quickly. This is a great film for non-horror fans because none of the stories are really terrifying and there are no jump scares.
Horror anthologies tend to be tricky and wildly uneven. They almost always rely on a twist ending and often the twist is too obvious, or the story is lackluster, and you spend the entire time waiting painfully for the reveal to come. To produce horror shorts where you immediately know who the characters are and more importantly, care about them is very challenging. All the Creatures Were Stirring had mixed results, but it still ranks among one of the better recent anthologies I’ve seen. Also, it has the benefit of being the only Christmas horror anthology that I know of, so you must give the McKendrys credit for trying something different. Overall, I liked this film. The writing and special effects were underwhelming at times but it was saved by originality and a powerhouse of indie acting talents in the cast.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018) two and a half graves out of five graves.
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