February 7, 2024

A CREATURE WAS STIRRING Exists for the Twist

2023 / 95 min
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😾

Everything in A Creature Was Stirring is obviously guiding the viewer toward a twist ending that, depending on how many horror movies one has seen, is either mind blowing or predictable. Either way, we know one is coming.

While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with a film that exists for the twist, the inherent challenge is to make it worth the wait, which director Damien LeVeck and writer Shannon Wells struggle to do. The story has snowbound single mother Faith (Chrissy Metz) caring for her teenage daughter, Charm (Annalise Basso), who suffers from either an extreme psychological disorder or an affliction that turns her into a vicious, porcupine-like monster (the narrative deliberately keeps things ambiguous).

Later, two siblings, Liz & Kory, (Scout Taylor-Compton & Connor Paolo) break into the house to escape the raging blizzard outside. At first, Faith wants them gone, but Liz convinces her to let them stay. Meanwhile, there are bizarre doings around in the house, particularly a red-eyed creature that may or may not be stalking them. While Liz & Kory turn out to be a couple of holier-than-thou evangelicals - convinced Charm is possessed - several hallucinatory scenes have the viewer suspecting Faith might be a few cans short of a six pack (which, in a way, telegraphs the narrative punches in advance).

Faith takes Spring Training a little too seriously.
The film is atmospheric and features a few pretty cool sequences (though it's seldom all that scary). But while these characters' perplexing actions (and reactions) eventually make sense once the big reveal is presented, getting there is often a chore. For the most part, Faith gains our sympathy (even after flashbacks reveal a disturbing past), but the other characters are simply irritating, especially Liz and Kory, even though their deliberate awfulness is contextually relevant. 

Good performances and neat-looking creatures help a bit, and I suppose the film is somewhat rescued by that ending. Until then, however, endless scenes calculated to keep us guessing grow a little tiresome after a while, especially if the viewer has already figured out where everything is heading (and a lot of you will). By the way…festive title notwithstanding, A Creature Was Stirring doesn’t have anything to do with the holidays other than colorful decor to enhance the setting.

No comments: