ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, a horror anthology from directors David and Rebekah McKendry, merges both horror and comedy, along with the Christmas spirit, in a way that I haven’t seen. The film stars Graham Skipper (Beyond the Gates), Ashley Clements (“The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”), Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil), Amanda Fuller (Fashionista), Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”), and Jonathan Kite (“2 Broke Girls”).

The film primarily centers around two people on an awkward date on Christmas Eve, as they attend a stage show based on a collection of Christmas poems from “The Night Before Christmas: A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Each vignette that is presented houses a horrifying, yet sometimes hilarious and even endearing, take on the Christmas spirit with each separate story correlating directly with the holiday poem.

One of the most important parts of an anthology is how each stories ties into the overall picture. In ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, we have a very minimalist stage show where three actors portray an interpretive rendition of what we are to expect. As we transition from one performance to the next, we have a silent MC (played wonderfully by actress Maria Olsen) who guides the Christmas story along. There are five stories at play here ranging from an office party that goes wrong to a modern retelling of ‘Christmas Carol’ and even an homage to “The Twilight Zone.”

What I really loved about this film was the overall execution of everything. Though done on a micro budget, it was still just as effective and presentable as films that have a major studio or financial backer behind it. The acting was fantastic, with superb pacing and art direction along with a cohesive storyline through all five films. It was also great to see so many familiar faces within the horror community. The people involved with this anthology are clearly passionate fans of genre film and horror as its apparent throughout ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING.

My two favorite stories happened to be “Dash Away All” which centers around two mysterious women that help someone stranded as well as “All Through House” which centers on a modern re-telling of ‘A Christmas Carol”. For me, I loved how intriguing “Dash Away All” was as it kept me guessing till the very end. I also really appreciated they way in which they used practical effects, especially upon the reveal of the women’s motives. In “All Through the House” I loved the mix of comedy and horror as well as how they revitalized such a classic Christmas story for a much younger crowd. The only short I wished packed a bigger punch would have been “Arouse Such a Clatter” but in lieu of the 1-2 punch it had some beautiful color palettes and a pulp-like horror film feel.

I was also impressed with how well the McKendry’s and the actors were able to merge humor and horror so well. That can be a fine line to ride and the execution is usually not spot on but in the case of ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING I found myself laughing out loud many times while also cringing at the more horrific moments. As I mentioned earlier, in regards to practical effects, I love how much it was used in this movie. Whether through creature design or the gory kills the attention to detail that was used to make it look as real as possible was brilliant.

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING. It was refreshing to see a horror anthology take place during a different holiday other than Halloween. It’s clear that the McKendry’s have an eye, and love, for storytelling. presentation, and horror, which makes ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING such a fantastic feature film debut. I like my Christmas holiday with more horror in it, which is why I’m looking forward to adding ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING as a yearly viewing tradition.

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Shannon is the Founder of Nightmarish Conjurings and a lover of all things horror and haunt related. When she's not obsessively collecting all things "Trick 'R Treat" related, or trying to convince everyone that "Hereditary" is one of the greatest horror films ever made, you can find her designing interiors for commercial restaurants. An avid haunt fan, Shannon spends the entire year visiting haunts and immersive experiences throughout the Southern California area and hopes to one day design her own haunted attraction.
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2 thoughts on “Blu-ray/DVD Review: ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING (2018)

  1. In the future, it would be extremely helpful if you would mention what special features are included on the Blu-Ray / DVD, since special features usually are part of a Blu-Ray / DVD review.

    And if there are no features, it would be helpful to know that as well.

    I also have not yet seen this film, though I know a couple of directors who know the couple who made this film, and I know there are twists in the film, so I only did a few control F searches for “features”, “special” and “bonus” just in case there were spoilers in your review. So in the off chance you did include the features and I just missed it, I apologize.

    I am looking to buy this Blu-Ray, but I want to know what the special features are first, and so far this is the only review I have found. The site where I typically go to for reviews has not yet reviewed it yet.

    But of course, the thought just popped into my head to check eBay to see if someone took a picture of the back cover (which would should the features) in their listing, and that’s where I am going now…

    Thanks.

  2. As a follow up, I just checked eBay, and there is only a commentary track on the disc 🙂

    I’m sure nobody cares but me and I’m probably only talking to myself, but that’s OK, I do that all the time anyway.

    Thanks.

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