Review: SNATCHERS – Fun Sci-Fi Horror Comedy Grabbing at Greatness

Snatchers (2019)
Directed by Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleinman
Written by Stephen Cedars, Benji Klienman, and Scott Yacyshyn
Produced by Stephen Cedars
Rated R, 96 minutes 

 

Snatchers has all the earmarks of a legendary horror comedy. It’s got an undeniably catchy premise, a witty script and good performances. Usually with films of its ilk I’d be eagerly texting a friend, reciting lines and favorite scenes while trying not to spoil it for them.

Then why am I having trouble remembering it a day after I’ve seen it?

Perhaps it’s because for all its quality filmmaking and ooey gooey gore, it’s unfortunately the definition of a second-reeler. One of those films that is fun while it’s playing, but ultimately not the feature presentation you were hoping it would be. That is not to say it isn’t worth your time. It is. As mentioned before, the premise is undeniably catchy. It centers around newly popular high-schooler Sara (Mary Nepi) who decides to lose her virginity to her lunk of a boyfriend Skyler (Austin Fryberger). Sara wakes up the next day to discover that she’s a full nine months pregnant.

Sara, not wanting to lose her seat at the popular table, doesn’t tell Skyler of her unnaturally rapid pregnancy. Instead she turns to her former best friend Haley (Gabrielle Elyse) to help her find some answers. They soon discover that Sara’s carrying something that’s definitely not human, rather alien, and she’s about to have twins! Once Sara gives “birth” it becomes a race against time for the two to discover the aliens’ origin but also find a way to stop the creatures before they reproduce and threaten humanity itself.

Written by, Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleinman, and Scott Yacyshyn, Snatchers’ script is filled with chuckle inducing lines. Sara describes giving birth to the first alien as having it blast out of her like a t-shirt cannon, and Haley opines that Sara dumped her as a friend as soon as she “got boobs.” Each of the shamelessly preposterous set pieces involving the aliens are drenched with blood and slime. None more so than in the police station and convenience store, each location reminiscent of Evil Dead 2 and Slither respectively, although in a second cousin twice removed sort of way. There are also visual nods to Gremlins and even Men In Black, in a post credit scene where we learn the fate of Skyler.

The direction by Cedars and Kleinman is tight and keeps the frantic pace of the film, after Sara gives birth, from losing focus and greatly expands the both the original short from 2015 and its subsequent web series, debuting at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, that features the same main cast as its current full-length version.

Opting for practical gore and creature effects was a great decision on the filmmakers’ part as well, adding a tangible realness to the sci-fi shenanigans.  Where Snatchers comes up lacking is in its inability to make the audience feel that the core characters are in real jeopardy. You know who’ll survive, and when a character dies their deaths really don’t have any emotional weight to them.  That is no slight towards the cast, who give fine performances, rather the overall tone of the film. Make no mistake: it’s a fun movie, but when it gets to the obligatory “arming themselves for the final show down” montage you’ll find yourself giving the scene a lukewarm “cool” rather than a fiery “Hell Yeah go kick some alien ass!” It’s a shame, really.

Does it belong in the Vault of the Killer B’s?  Most certainly. It’ll just be on the “almost but not quite there” shelf. Snatchers is available for rental streaming on Amazon Video and as both a DVD and Blu-ray through Warner Brothers.

One from the Vault is a series of retro reviews celebrating the most outlandish, outrageous, and over the top films ever created.

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