An awkward Christmas Eve date leads a non-dating couple into a strange theater where they’re forced to confront an assemblage of odd and scary Christmas tales — from a boring office party livened up by murder to stalkers, demons, aliens and more. All the Creatures Were Stirring offers a portmanteau take on holiday horror.
The first full-length film written and directed by David Ian and Rebekah McKendry, this tale starts in the theater, where Max and Jenna go on their first date, a production of a play with the same name as this movie. Each of the tales takes on a common theme — an office party, last minute shopping, hating the holidays — and spin them into a darker theme. Here are the stories:
The Stockings Were Hung: An office Secret Santa (shot in the warehouse of Blumhouse) turns into a game of death.
Dash Away All: A man is locked out of his car on Christmas Eve and is trying not to give his wife any ammunition to say he’s ruining Christmas. However, when he meets a van full of two girls and an ancient evil, he’ll wish that he’d stayed in the store.
All through the House: A neighbor that hates Christmas continually sees how he’s going to die by the end of the night.
Arose Such a Clatter: A reindeer gets his revenge.
In a Twinkling: Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) shows up in this tale of aliens trying to understand the holidays.
The stories — other than The Stockings Were Hung and Dash Away — never really seem to go anywhere once their premise is set up. Even the wraparound gives no real resolution. There’s the setup and the sort of ending, but like so many of the modern crop of anthology films, the whole is nowhere near the sum of its parts. Filmmakers should look back to Amicus Productions, where each story often felt strong enough to be its own film.
This was a fine bit of background music while I was finishing holiday preparations, but in no way was satisfying. Consider it the appetizer before you watch a much better holiday horror film.
You can watch this on Shudder.