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Derrick Dunn

Solid direction and a strong lead performance don’t save A Creature Was Stirring

As the holiday season approaches, director Damien LeVeck hopes to give horror fans the latest horror holiday treat in A Creature Was Stirring from Well Go USA. Shannon Wells wrote the screenplay for the film, and it takes us on a journey to meet Faith (Chrissy Metz), a dedicated nurse looking after her troubled teenage daughter Charm (Annalise Basso) during the holiday season.

The daughter is suffering from a mysterious and terrifying affliction, which is why Faith keeps her on a tightly controlled regimen of experimental drugs. The drugs are their only means of keeping the affliction at bay, and Faith is doing everything in her power to ensure her daughter’s health and safety.

Despite their challenges, Faith remains determined to find a solution to help her daughter overcome the affliction, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Things take an unexpected turn when sibling burglars Liz (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Kory (Connor Paolo) attempt to rob the home on Christmas and stumble upon a long-kept family secret with monstrous consequences.

Out of respect for the creatives and the angle they are trying to deliver, I want to keep the review for A Creature Was Stirring as spoiler-free as possible. Sixteen months after her hit show This Is Us ended, Chrissy Metz top lines the film going against type. It’s a massive undertaking for any actor to distance themselves from a long-running, but Metz shows some range and takes her character to dark places. As fans know, Metz is a fantastic singer and can play a good girl role in her sleep, but she may have a second calling for horror flicks.”

Scream queen veteran Scout Taylor-Compton provides her usual horror film theatrics, but Connor Paolo is a wash as her brother. Annalise Basso is an absolute gem in the film, shining brightly alongside the rest of the cast. She effortlessly portrays the complexities of teenage angst, merging vulnerability with a sense of eerie mystery.

This film was my introduction to Damien LeVeck’s previous movies, but I was impressed by his innovative camera angles and the eerie ambiance he created. I am excited to see what he can accomplish with a larger-budget film. I commend Alexander Chinnici, the cinematographer, for crafting a remarkable Christmas horror experience and the special effects team for utilizing practical effects instead of relying on heavy computer-generated imagery. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives of the movie end for me.

Wells is a first-time screenwriter, and it shows because all the concepts he wants to explore don’t mesh. The movie hopes to combine elements of a creature feature, a recovering addict story, family drama, and mental health issues into a psychological thriller. Hardcore horror enthusiasts might be okay with this approach. Still, casual viewers may grow impatient to concentrate to even partially grasp and comprehend the plot.

Though we eventually get an explanation of what’s happening, it feels half-hearted at best. A Creature Was Stirring is one of those ideas that should have been developed as a short film first and played the festival circuit. This route would have allowed some feedback on how to turn the film into a full-length feature.

While the film wasn’t my cup of tea, those who enjoy holiday horror flicks and Metz fans may enjoy it.

Final Grade: C-

A Creature Was Stirring is in limited theaters

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Solid direction and a strong lead performance don’t save A Creature Was Stirring