A Creature was Stirring - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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A Creature was Stirring


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Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :halfstar:
Final Score: :2.5stars:




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Movie

I have a bit of a weakness for Christmas themed horror movies. I grew up in the days of watching sleazy grimy horror fests like Silent Night, Deadly Night...Christmas Evil, Black Christmas, and even action/thrillers like Violent Night immediately peak my interest. My first thought upon watching the trailer for Well Go USA’s A Creature was Stirring was another Christmas gorefest from Well Go USA that caught my interest back in 2017 in the form of You Better Watch Out. That particular little slasher was a breath of fresh air into a stale niche sub genre of horror, and I really was hoping that A Creature was Stirring would be another one. Unfortunately it was sort of the polar opposite of my experience with You Better Watch Out in that I went in with ZERO expectations for the film, and came out extremely pleased. I sort of went in hoping this would be another great Christmas themed horror film, but ended up really being disappointed with A Creature was Stirring.

The film opens up pretty quickly with a disturbing winter landscape wherein a snowed in Nurse named Faith (Chrissy Metz) and her daughter Charm (Annalise Basso) are having to cope with her daughter’s illness. Only thing is, this “illness” is more than just a fever and the sniffles. Faith is administering a serum to her daughter to keep her within a specific temperature range, otherwise a demonic monster would take control of her daughter’s body and wreak havoc. Things get a little bit more sticky when a brother and sister duo named Liz (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Kory (Connor Paolo) crash the boarded up house in hopes of getting some respite from the storm. Now Faith has to balance keeping Liz and Kory away from Charm, and keeping Charm from busting out of her proverbial skin suit and unleash literal hell upon the unsuspecting travelers.

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A Creature is Stirring is at times really interesting, but at other times almost insanely over the top incoherent in the narrative structure. The first act or so builds up a rather creepy story of a young girl possessed by something outside of her control, and Faith is having to struggle with the reality that she might never be able to control the monster inside her daughter. The problem is that the premise of the movie is meant to be a red herring. At least the premise that we’re privy to in the first two acts of the film. The last act TRIES to explain a lot of the subtext that we’re supposed to be picking up on, but it tends to fail miserably, leaving more questions than answers. There’s bits of religious fervor, a bait n’ switch with drug abuse, and finally we’re left wondering just how much of what we saw was real, and how much was a fevered allegorical dream sequence that was seen through the unreliable narrator’s eyes.

I don’t mind the bait and switch ending with heavily allegorical themes of substance abuse and the demon of drugs never really leaving you alone. BUUUUUT, I wish it had been done better. You can see where Damien LeVeck was going with his story, but the tale is told so incoherently that by the time the credits rolled it’s almost like there is no logical way to pull out a cohesive narrative from the jumbled bits of physical horror, spiritual themes, and heavy allegories on the noose substance abuse can put around your neck.Chrissy Metz gives an admirable performance as the tortured mother, but Annalise, Scout and the rest of the cast are a bit more pedestrian sadly.




Rating:

Rated R for violence, bloody images, drug content, language and some sexual references.




Video: :4stars:
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I couldn’t find any online information on the cameras used or the master struck for this flick, but the 2.39:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray looks rather good for the most part. It’s got a heavy aesthetic that employs blurred backgrounds, over use of lens flare, and a dulled red and green and blue color grading that really highlights those primary colors while drenching the house in darkness the rest of the time. Brightly lit scenes (the few that are out there) have that parchment color to them from dulled interior lighting, but the fine detail levels are rather good all the way around. Some of the more intentionally fuzzy scenes seem to loose textural details, but others are quite superb in showing off blood, cuts, and intimate clothing details to our eyes. Black crush is probably the worst offender for artifacting on the disc (surprised the film didn’t band more than it did, as banding is the most common problem for Well Go USA encodes). But overall, this is a nice looking disc.









Audio: :4stars:
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The singular 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is an impressive track that features a strong front end, and a surprisingly beefy bass line under all of it. The vast majority of the film is pretty front heavy with moderate use of the score to keep the surrounds engaged. However, the final act with the monster running around literally makes FULL use of all channels with crunchy heavy bass, great surround usage as the beast flits from one end of the room to the other, as well as great vocal presentation. I did notice that the dynamic range for the film wasn’t overly massive, but there are more than a few jump scare moments where the range loosens up a bit. That being said, this is a solid contending 5.1 track for a film that relies on ambiance to really sell the horror.












Extras: :halfstar:
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• Theatrical Trailer
• Well Go USA Previews












Final Score: :2.5stars:

Like many movies, A Creature was Stirring is a warning tale of how NOT to make an allegorical movie. Unlike You Better Watch Out, I came away heavily disappointed and frustrated with the low budget creature feature. I DID like how heavily it relied on practical effects for the monster instead of falling back on low budget CGI, but that can’t make up for a fairly jumbled story that can’t make it past the allegory stage and actually tie things together properly. The Video and audio is quite solid though, but the typical non-existent extras and incoherent storyline are a bit hard to get over. Low end rental for horror buffs will be my final take on the film.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Chrissy Metz, Scout Taylor-Compton, Connor Paolo, Annalise Basso
Directed by: Damien LeVeck
Written by: Shannon Wells
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DD 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Well Go USA
Rated: R
Runtime: 95 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 13th, 2024
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Recommendation: Skip It/For the Fans

 

Todd Anderson

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I'm letting you take the bullet on this one, Mike.

Thank you.

I feel like I just got back 95 minutes of my life!
 
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