Shudder recently gave us an early Christmas present and released the new Christmas-themed anthology film, All the Creatures Were Stirring!
Holiday themed horror films are near and dear to my heart. There is just something about a movie set during the holiday (any holiday) that unites viewers with a common relatable setting. Everyone can relate to holiday hijinks, insane family members, traditions gone awry, and the childhood fears of the underbelly to the holidays that have fuelled many a child’s fear of Santa, the Easter Bunny, and even the Tooth Fairy. After my delight at 2015’s Canadian anthology film, A Christmas Horror Story, this one had some big shoes to fill.
I am pleased to report that this anthology is a more than welcome addition to the horror holiday canon!
A couple on a date provides the framework for the common thread that ties these stories together. With no family of their own, they attend a Christmas play at a local theater on Christmas Eve, and each entry is a chapter of that play. The key to a great anthology is the common thread; in this case, they nailed it. I was invested in what would happen to this couple, and to find out the purpose of the play. Too often, the story that ties them all together is left with too many loose ends, or doesn’t have a clear purpose in connecting the dots. All the Creatures Were Stirring understands this.
The variety in this film is great. Each story has something to say about the holidays, and ranges from demons to aliens to a twisted version of A Christmas Carol. While each is a little bit different, there is an underlying theme of the loneliness and social pressure that people can feel during the holiday season. It is supposed to be a happy, hopeful, loving time to spend with friends and family, and it is. But for many, at one point or another during the season, it can also a time of stress, consumerism, and isolation.
This is a horror film; a Hallmark Christmas this ain’t. But if you’re looking for something a little different and a little dark to add to your Christmas movie list, this one has a little something for every horror lover.
Check out the trailer from Shudder here.
Looking for more Christmas horror recommendations? Stay tuned for my top holiday horror films this Friday!