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John’s Horror Corner: All the Creatures were Stirring (2018), a Christmas horror-comedy anthology that is not worth your time.

December 26, 2020

MY CALL: I recommend a hard pass even you if love Christmas horror or anthology horror. Very boring. This film fails to deliver… everything. MOVIES LIKE All the Creatures were Stirring: For more (and much better) Christmas horror try Black Christmas (1974, 2006 remake, 2019), Await Further Instructions (2018), Holidays (2016; Christmas), A Christmas Horror Story (2015), Krampus (2015), Better Watch Out (2016), Tales from the Crypt Season 1 (1989; And All Through the House), Silent Night Deadly Night (1984), Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) Gremlins (1984), and Tales from the Crypt (1972; And All Through the House). Skip The Oracle (1985).

In this particularly dry horror anthology, Jenna (Ashley Clements; Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party) and Max meet up on a Christmas Eve date for an awkward theatrical performance that serves as our wraparound anthology tale. The quality of this opening segment sets the bumpy, uneventfully phoned-in pace for this collection of stories.

At her “mandatory” office Christmas party Alissa (Jocelin Donahue; Doctor Sleep, Insidious: Chapter 2, The House of the Devil), Scott (Matt Mercer; Contracted, Bliss, Beyond the Gates) and colleagues find a surprise while opening their perfunctory Secret Santa gift exchange when someone is literally killed by their gift. It seems that a poor man’s Jigsaw has rigged a holiday game of death for these office workers. It doesn’t lead to anything interesting or fun or shocking… and you should be prepared for more of the same if you continue watching this movie.

Our second story finds a man locked out of his car in a mall parking lot after gift shopping on Christmas Eve and a helpful but weird stranger (Katie Parker; Absentia, The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor) lends him her phone. Cursed and bound to a bloodthirsty evil, they find themselves in a strange conundrum. This was a very dumb segment and, as previously warned, get ready for some more. The stories don’t get any better as we suffer an awful Christmas Carol Scrooge experience that makes me hate this movie. Then a motorist kills a reindeer on the road and is hunted for his crime.

Finally came the short that led me to watch this in the first place by virtue of its star. Not wanting her boyfriend to spend Christmas alone, Gabby (Constance Wu; Hustlers, Crazy Rich Asians) surprises Steve but finds a very strange surprise of her own. This is very Twilight Zone-ish and darkly funny. Probably the best segment of the movie… but still very bad.

The writing, visuals and delivery was just plain weak. The acting and editing range from rough to proficient (at times), but well shy of anything polished in experience. And the clearly ultra-low budget special effects are nothing special. This movie felt like it was made by people who didn’t even want to make it.

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