All the Creatures Were Stirring

★½☆☆ – (2018) – Anthology of five stories that focus on a twisted office party, demon knights, yuletide psychosis, a vengeful reindeer, and an alternate reality. The black box theater setup is different, but the stories themselves are bland and uninspiring. Most stories have no resolution, making this feel like a collection of thrown away ideas.

Southbound

★★½☆ – (2015) – Anthology of intertwining stories that all have to do with the darkest sides of the ungodly. Has the same structure as Trick ‘r Treat, and though it’s not as tightly wound, this one has plenty of frights and shocks to call its own. There’s virtually no emotional connection to any single character, but what they’re put through is often grueling to watch. Not for the faint of heart.

The Nun

★★☆☆ – (2018) – A priest and a prospective nun investigate a suicide at a convent and slowly unravel a dark secret. Despite showcasing stark atmosphere and ghoulish imagery, there’s not much happening here storywise. This is by-the-numbers religious hodgepodge with an underused and unscary villain. Another Conjuring spinoff letdown.

Mandy

★★½☆ – (2018) – A mild mannered lumberjack goes after the cult that roasted his wife. The first half, while painfully slow, offers high levels of intrigue, while the second half provides all the Nicolas Cage bombast you could ever want or expect. Stylish one moment, basic the next, but always hard to look away from.

Long Time Dead

★★½☆ – (2002) – A group of college friends summon an evil force that doesn’t take long to start picking them off. Well-made and well-meaning, but suffers from two nagging flaws. One, most deaths are off screen, and two, the serious attempts at horror can come across as silly. Moves fast though, and isn’t hard to get through.

The Alchemist Cookbook

★★☆☆ – (2016) – A paranoid young man who lives alone in the woods conducts experiments to ward off evil. The premise holds promise, and a secondary character provides laughs, but by the mid-point every highlight dissolves into nothingness. The main problem is we’re never told what’s going on, which might intrigue some but frustrate others.