Every year, a bunch of horror flicks come out around Christmas, and 2018 is no exception: amongst the ones that revolve around this magical and mystical holiday, I decided to cover a little independent horror anthology titled All the Creatures Were Stirring – besides Await Further Instructions, which I talked about in my recent THE 10 BEST Christmas-themed horror films you probably have not seen list.
To spice things up and make this review short and sweet, I decided to briefly assess each single segment (six in total, five plus the wrap-around story).
First, a short introduction: written and directed by David Ian McKendry and Rebekah McKendry (who are married in real life), this American horror anthology has a very small budget but a cool premise. Basically, every segment should have a different visual style and be rooted in a different sub-genre of horror. The wrap-around story is about two people who go on a date on Christmas Eve to a shady theatre, where they witness a few different plays revolving around Christmas. Let’s check – in chronological order – the single short movies inside the anthology, to see whether All the Creatures Were Stirring is worth watching or not.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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THE STOCKINGS WERE HUNG – this one takes place in an office and has a Mayhem-like vibe. It benefits from a cool split-screen cinematography and a somewhat compelling mystery: who’s killing the employees on Christmas Eve? The performances are comedic and over-the-top but, unfortunately, the segment isn’t as gory as one might hope and, ultimately, its ending feels rushed and disappointing.
DASH AWAY ALL – a family man goes to a shopping centre on Christmas Eve to get his family some nice presents. Once he’s done, he locks his car with the keys inside and is left alone in the parking lot: two cute girls in a shady van offer him help, which obviously he shouldn’t have accepted. Here we have quite a spooky story that benefits from strong acting and a nice twist. The technical aspects are less convincing, but there’s some cool and colourful CGI to make up for it. Overall, I rather enjoyed this segment.
ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE – a guy who detests Christmas is being a grumpy bastard and spending Christmas Eve alone in the house. Some spirits pay him a visit, causing him to witness many gruesome ways in which he might die. It’s a twisted and comedic version of A Christmas Carol that features great camera-work, a few interesting concepts and some neat visuals. Although the death scenes are quite disappointing, this segment is probably my second favourite: you also get an unexpected happy ending to it!
AROSE SUCH A CLATTER – here we have a guy driving home and crashes into a reindeer, which turns out to be evil and vindictive. This one is a mess: it’s only 5 minutes long (not enough to develop anything worth sitting through); it’s filmed through extreme shaky-cam; it’s non-sensical and badly acted. Most likely, this segment was added afterwards to get to the 80-minute-long runtime. Truly bad!
IN A TWINKLING – this is the one I like the most. So much, in fact, that I wish somebody will make a feature-length film out of it. The story follows a nerdy guy who locks himself into his house for Christmas Eve: his girlfriend and two friends decide to pay him a visit, although he warned them not too. A few lights then appear in the sky and all hell breaks loose. In a Twinkling is one you should definitely give a chance too: cinematography and colour-scheme (this short utilises black and white with the insertion of a few super-colourful images thrown in) are great, the acting is good, and the editing is fantastic. This is also both the funniest and the scariest fragment in the anthology, in my opinion: there’s one very well-executed jump-scare, but most of the fear comes from the uneasy and creepy situation, which combines with the awkwardly eerie acting that’s hilarious at the same time.
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT – this is the title of the wrap-around story. In all honestly, this one is not very interesting, nor makes a whole lot of sense. It’s a bit mysterious and creepy, but also filled with shaky acting, boring visual style and repetitiveness. It’s probably my second least favourite among all segments.
How was reading these six short reviews? Is it a format you like and would be interested in seeing more often on this website? Please, let me know leaving a feedback in the comments!
In the meantime, I’d say I personally enjoyed All the Creatures Were Stirring – it’s nothing exceptional and one or two segments are rather bad: however, In a Twinkling truly deserves to be seen and most of the short movies are at least entertaining. if you’re down for a horror anthology to watch around Christmas time that won’t require you to think too much, please check this one out!
All the Creatures Were Stirring 6/10