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Gremlin (Movie Review)

Gremlin (Movie Review)
07.11.2017by: Mike Sprague
2 10

PLOT: A man receives a mysterious box containing a terrible secret, a creature that will kill everyone else in his family unless he passes it on to someone he loves to continue its never-ending circulation.

REVIEW: A while back we posted the trailer for GREMLIN and I think it's safe to say we were more than a little surprised at how popular that post became. Did that many people really want to see this flick? Or was it just - as I suspect - that the title tricked people into thinking it was a sequel, or possibly a spin-off, to the classic GREMLINS franchise. Maybe people were just blown away by the balls it took to call a film GREMLIN. Because let's be truthful here, calling your flick GREMLIN and shrugging it off is like calling your film RAIDER OF THE LOST ARKS and then being surprised when someone calls you out on it.

But all of that aside, we're not here today to talk about the film's title. Oh, no. There is much more to dislike about this film than its derivative and/or rip-off title. I hate to spit vile trash-talk (in my second ever review for the site) but let it be known that I peeped this movie with the best intentions. I wanted to like it. After all, I was getting paid to watch it, and what's not to love about that? Suffice to say I was in a good mood when I pressed play. And then the movie started...

Let's backtrack a bit here and I'll give you a quick rundown on the film's premise. The movie begins with an old man and his older wife staring at a box. The old man has a shotgun cock, locked and ready to rock, pointed at said box - which by the way, looks like someone threw the Lament Configuration through the STARGATE. Anyways, the old people stare at the box, it opens, and a monster (Gremlin) nightmares out and super kills the sad old woman - who is confined to a wheelchair and sports breathing equipment. What a downer, right? Trust me, it gets a WHOLE lot worse.

And this brings me to the ultimate problem with the flick; it's trying to be a fun creature feature but continuously plays it way too dark and/or disturbing for its own good. Want an example? Okay, you asked for it. The film is about a family cursed with this CLOVERFIELD clone. This family contains a teenage daughter and said daughter has a running subplot where she realizes she is going to be a teen mom. This is, by the way, handled in a very melodramatic after-school special manner. Anyhow, at one point the Gremlin sneaks into the daughter's room while she's sleeping and... You know, I'm not even going to say what happens. You get the idea. It's dark as hell and mean-spirited.

Now you may be saying, "Mike is a big old fat wimp. This sounds awesome." Go ahead, watch the flick. Trust me, it's not awesome. It isn't even handled in a Troma fashion of "so crazy it's funny". It isn't even that graphic. Hardly any blood. But the film takes the incident so damn seriously that you're just flat out depressed (and bored) by the time the Gremlin gets around to killing other peeps. Basically, imagine if SHARKNADO was humming along, being silly as shite, and then a TV executive shows up and tells the cast to stop slaughtering sharks with chainsaws and, instead, sit down and discuss the issue of teenage murder/abortion. Surprise, this is no longer a bad SyFy channel movie of the week, but will now be shaped into an even worse Lifetime channel movie of the week. Oh. Good.

This film's tone is all over the map. It's supposed to be a fun creature feature but at almost every turn it tries to make you feel like sh*t. The film is a bummer. And it's boring. That said, the creature effects are pretty stellar for the (no doubt) tiny budget. In fact, the VFX are so good it makes sense why this movie was produced in the first place. The filmmakers could make cool digital creatures. That's all. "You want our cool CG creatures," they say. "Well, you gotta let us write and direct the movie." Hurm. "Let me think about that," the money man says. "If you call it KLOVERFIELD, you got a deal." "Kloverfield? No way! That's silly. What about GREMLIN?" Moneyman's eyes start salivating; "Genius!"

But in all seriousness, save your money and your time. This movie isn't fun. Or "shocking". It's a drag. Which is too bad because the film is well-shot and boasts a slick digital creature; considering its budget. I hate to be that guy and spend all this time railing against a defenseless flick, but I'm sure as hell not going to be the guy who recommends this film either.

Do yourself a favor; slap an S to the end of this film's title and just rewatch the Joe Dante classic again for the 300th time. Or even another one of those SHARKNADO flicks. Just steer clear of this monster mess.

Extra Tidbit: GREMLIN hits VOD July 11th.
Source: AITH

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