All the Creature Were Stirring is a new horror anthology featuring Christmas stories. It’s a mixed bag that starts out a bit weak but gets better along the way. Overall worth your time if you enjoy anthologies!
All the Creatures Were Stirring features horror shorts centered around Christmas to create a Christmas Horror Anthology. Sounds pretty cool right?!
Well, I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t start out too cool. The first story is simply too weak and boring. Being a short story, it needs to jump into “crazy town” a bit too fast for my liking.
However, it gets much better along the way. Some of these horror shorts could even make pretty interesting feature films.
The horror of Christmas
For many, Christmas is full of stress and irritation as much as it is joy and love. That’s basically the premise of many stories in All the Creatures Were Stirring.
There’s a total of 5 short films as well as the overall story tying those together. The overlying story ends up being kind of cool once you get into it, but it did take me a while.
As far as the short films go, they vary a lot in quality. Or rather, they vary in regards to how much I find them entertaining. There’s a workplace story that I didn’t really care for and a Scrooge-inspired story that I wanted so much more from.
On the other hand, there are quite a few fascinating stories. Like the one with a man buying Christmas presents at the last minute and getting locked out of his car. That one was my absolute favorite in both concept and execution.
Pretty much like it was the case with the Father’s Day segment in the Holidays anthology.
Both are examples of short films I would love watching feature film versions of.
Enjoy the cast in All the Creature Were Stirring
Whenever an anthology comes along, part of the joy is the huge cast attached. Since the movie consists of several separate short stories, you will meet a lot of characters, which means a lot of different actors.
In All the Creatures Were Stirring, you’ll see familiar faces like Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), Amanda Fuller (Orange is the New Black) and Jonathan Kite (2 Broke Girls). Of course, all of these have the one huge thing in common that they tend to do comedy.
And yes, as it’s often the case with horror anthologies, there is a good amount of comedy included. This tends to be a great way to move the story along quickly without it seeming too forced. Something this Christmas anthology both succeeds in and fails a few times.
Of course, Constance Wu did also star in an episode of the (all too) short-lived Hulu sci-fi show Dimension 404. A show very much along the lines of the very successful Black Mirror horror sci-fi series.
Horror movie actors
Also, there’s Jocelin Donahue, who actually starred in the aforementioned Father’s Day segment of the Holidays horror anthology. She also starred in Dead Awake and will be in Mike Flanagan’s Netflix adaption of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep.
We also have Morgan Peter Brown, who was in Mike Flanagan’s Absentia from 2011 (a pattern seems to be emerging) and in the less than impressive House of Demons (2018).
In other words, we do have quite a few horror-familiar actors in this anthology as well.
Anthology Writer & Director Duo
All the Creatures Were Stirring was both written and directed by the same two people. David Ian McKendry and Rebekah McKendry made this anthology as a joint effort. And yes, they are also married (since 2003), so these two are a team in every way.
Personally, I’m starting to love it when married couples join forces to work on horror productions. Mike Flanagan has been mentioned quite a few times, but the comparison here is obvious since he’s been working with his wife, Kate Siegel, for years.
In fact, Kate Siegel co-wrote (as well as starred in) his movie Hush, so she’s not “just” acting. And, of course, she recently played one of the lead roles in the insanely popular (rightfully so!) Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House.
In the case of The McKendry’s, they’ve done several short films together before tackling this anthology – which does seem like an obvious next step. Often, they’ve co-directed, but in a few cases, Rebekah has taken the role of director while David has written the scripts. That’s not something we see too often.
If you enjoy horror anthologies with deliciously dark humor – especially in relation to Christmas – then don’t miss this one. Not all the segments (or short films, if you will) are hits but there are no huge misses either.
All the Creatures Were Stirring is available on DVD, On Demand and Digital Video from December 4, 2018.
Directors: David Ian McKendry, Rebekah McKendry
Writers: David Ian McKendry, Rebekah McKendry
Cast: Constance Wu, Jonathan Kite, Jocelin Donahue, Amanda Fuller, Mark Kelly, Ashley Clements, Graham Skipper
When an awkward date on Christmas Eve leads a couple into a strange theater, they’re treated to a bizarre and frightening collection of Christmas stories, featuring a wide ensemble of characters doing their best to avoid the horrors of the holidays. From boring office parties and last-minute shopping, to vengeful stalkers and immortal demons, there’s plenty out there to fear this holiday season.