“Gremlins” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

11 December, 2017

Year of Release: 1984
Joe Dante
Chris Columbus
Director of Photography: 
John Hora
Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Corey Feldman

Synopsis: Chaos ensues in a small town after a gadget salesman brings home a strange creature as a gift for his son, unaware of the mogwai’s hidden ability to produce deadly offspring when exposed to particular elements.

Gremlins Review:

Christmas pandemonium for lovers of dark comedy, “Gremlins” is a horror movie with an eye for transcribing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the holiday season through an allegorical tale of winter savagery and small-town delirium. Featuring a host of fiendish creatures who pillage an entire town in the hours before sunrise, the movie feels similar in spirit to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” but arrives in a far deadlier wave of carnage. The ‘Bah Humbug’ of monster movies, the movie’s titular gremlins do everything and anything they can to destroy their surroundings; tampering with cables, biting off fingers, and straight-up murdering townsfolk before their reign of terror concludes in an irrefutable fashion.

Each given a unique personality to match their propensity for destruction, the film features dozens of pre-written character traits assigned to its villains, many of whom appear only in brief moments yet display a unique set of skills and weaknesses. From gremlins with legwarmers and lipstick to criminal masterminds puffing cigars and stacking poker chips, the movie elaborates on its exceptional universe through creative sneezes, achooing an encyclopaedia of idiosyncrasies on-screen which meld effortlessly with the impromptu moments shared between Gizmo and Barney the dog.

The three-way lovechild of a conceptual dream team, “Gremlins” combines Joe Dante’s horror chops with a pitch-black screenplay from Chris Columbus who finds universal appeal for his story through the loving approach of a Spielberg production. While certain elements conflict on an interstitial level, particularly the overlapping of dark themes with happy endings, the movie bridges the gap between good and evil by featuring one of the most adorable animatronic characters in film history, finding the perfect balance between Dante’s darkness and Spielberg’s light through timeless audience-winning moments. Remembered today as an icon from a pre-CGI era, Gizmo is cuter than a teddy bear and sweeter than a mince pie, both the shining star atop a devious Christmas tree and the perfect way to helm a festive fantasy with family appeal.


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