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David Ian McKendry, Rebekah McKendry
Constance Wu, Jonathan Kite, Jocelin Donahue
David Ian McKendry, Rebekah McKendry

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.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1/16X9
English Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 80 min.
Price: $27.97
Release Date: 12/4/2018

• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Rebekah and David Ian McKendry, Producer Joe Wicker and Producer/Actor Morgan Peter Brown
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


All the Creatures Were Stirring (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 6, 2018)

A horror anthology with a Christmas theme, 2018’s All the Creatures Were Stirring provides a mix of tales. These begin when a couple on their first date find themselves in a creepy theater on Christmas Eve.

In this venue, Jenna (Ashley Clements) and Max (Max Skipper) watch the stage production All the Creatures Were Stirring, a horror anthology. How meta!

Creatures the movie doesn’t simply show Creatures the stage play, though. We view the start of each segment – presented in an abstract way – and then leap to actual filmed representations of these stories.

“The Stockings Were Hung” focuses on an office Christmas party that turns into a violent torture test, while “Dash Away All” features a man (Matt Long) who encounters two odd women while stuck in a department store parking lot.

For the third tale, “All Through the House” features Chet (Jonathan Kite”), a modern-day Scrooge forced to go through his own visitations. In “Arose Such a Clatter”, a man (Mark Kelly) hits an animal with his car and suffers dire consequences, while “In a Twinkling” tells of Steve (Morgan Peter Brown) and the mysterious visitors he deals with every Christmas.

If nothing else, the folks who produced this DVD deserve credit for their refusal to emphasize one potential selling point: the presence of Constance Wu in “Twinkling”. The star of Crazy Rich Asians, you’d think the DVD’s case would scream her participation, but it barely mentions her.

Perhaps the powers that be thought the horror crowd would avoid a movie with the star of a rom-com like Rich - or maybe Wu threatened everlasting vengeance if they used her name to sell this messy melange. I’ve certainly seen worse anthologies, but Creatures nonetheless fails to satisfy.

Three of the stories – “Hung”, “Dash” and “Twinkling” – come with intriguing ideas, but they falter as they progress. “Hung” suffers from a truly lousy ending, and “Dash” comes with a terrible non-ending.

Of the five tales, “Twinkling” probably works best, but it also seems like a mismatch for this set, mainly because it lacks any sense of actual terror. More of a Twilight Zone reel, Steve’s “predicament” seems fairly benign, and the segment fails to convey the expected scares or menace.

“House” becomes a dud because it follows Christmas Carol too explicitly. Of course, it takes some liberties, but it doesn’t tweak the source in a manner meaningful enough to give it a twist.

“Clatter” fares worst of all, as it barely even attempts a plot. It comes with a gory idea for a story but not one that the film fleshes out in a substantial way. Once you figure out its gimmick – which becomes obvious quickly – then we get little else of interest.

The lack of real follow-through becomes an issue for Creatures, by which I mean the five stories seem undernourished. As noted, some boast the bones of interesting material, but they play out in such a thin, insubstantial manner that they don’t satisfy.

And then there’s the framework of the Max/Jenna date. We know it’ll develop its own creepy vibe, but it follows through on that promise in a wholly unsatisfying way.

At only 80 minutes, Creatures flies through its segments quickly enough that they never leave us bored, but that doesn’t mean they succeed, either. While aspects of the movie show promise, the end result seems unfulfilling.

The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

All the Creatures Were Stirring appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture never excelled, but it was adequate for SD-DVD.

Sharpness was usually acceptable. Wider shots tended to be soft, but those instances weren’t extreme, and much of the flick offered decent clarity.

Shimmering and jaggies were minor and edge haloes seemed non-problematic. Print flaws were non-existent, as I detected no specks, marks or other blemishes.

The film’s palette usually opted for a fairly natural palette, but the hues could seem problematic. In particular, colored lighting appeared heavy and messy. Other hues fared better, but the tones lacked clarity.

Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, but shadows showed reasonable smoothness. Nothing here did much to impress, but this was a decent presentation.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. Even when the material broadened, it stayed restrained and lacked much involvement. This became a pretty restricted track for 5.1.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity.

Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a lackluster mix.

One extra appears here: an audio commentary from writers/directors Rebekah and David Ian McKendry, producer Joe Wicker and producer/actor Morgan Peter Brown. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the project’s roots and development, cast and performances, story and characters, sets and locations, music, cinematography and design, influences and related areas.

Expect a brisk chat, as the four participants interact well and make this a lively conversation. They touch on a good array of subjects and ensure we get a fun, fast-paced view of the production.

The disc opens with ads for Christmas Horror Story, All Hallows’ Eve 2 and The Evil In Us. No trailer for Creatures appears here.

A new anthology of Christmas-related horror stories, All the Creatures Were Stirring occasionally boasts promise. Unfortunately, the different segments never develop into compelling tales, so the package becomes a messy disappointment. The DVD comes with mediocre picture and audio as well as a useful commentary. I’ve seen worse holiday-themed horror, but Creatures nonetheless becomes a flawed, lackluster piece.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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