Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Don't Watch This Alone!: GREMLIN (2017)

Welcome to another installment of DON'T WATCH THIS ALONE!, where we review the best, worst, and everything in between in the world of horror. This week we review the 'monster in a box' horror movie, GREMLIN

Gremlin, written and directed by Ryan Bellgart, is not to be confused with the Gremlins franchise. This is a whole new creature and whole new concept. One that is smartly done with excellent pacing, of scenes fraught with tension and scares.  Gremlin puts forth the most frightening scenario of all. You receive a mysterious box given to you by a family member and the box contains a terrible secret; a creature that will kill you and everyone else in your family unless you pass it on to someone you love before the timer runs out so as to continue its never-ending circulation and keep the creature trapped forever.

In Gremlin, this is the very thing that happens to Adam Thatcher (Adam Hampton) and his family while they are staying with her elderly grandmother.  It all starts when his wife’s uncle Jim Roberts (Michael Waugh) gives his mother, a mysterious box. He tells her it’s a game and that part of playing the ‘game’ is to pass the box along to someone she loves before the timer on the box counts down to the end.  

Adam has enough things going on in his life; a wayward teenaged daughter Anna (Katie Burgess), a young son Charlie (Catcher Stair), pressures at work and he’s having an affair with his female co-worker Natalie (Connie Franklin) who is demanding he leave his long-suffering wife Julie (Kristy K. Boone). Now, his grandmother-in-law, in a loving gesture, passes the mysterious box to him.
What Uncle Jim failed to tell his mother was that the box contains a fallen evil god that has been entrapped in the box by a force trying to stop it from taking over and destroying the world, and that in order for the creature to advance the timer it can only come out of the box to kill one of the holder’s loved ones at a time then return to the box. He also fails to tell them that if you try to give it to someone you don’t love, the creature will immediately come out of the box and kill that person, which also advances the timer one step further toward the creature being free to destroy the world.

In Gremlin, the first of Adam’s loved ones to fall victim to the cursed creature in the box is the grandmother, but no one sees her being killed by the creature except for young Charlie whom the family and police do not believe. However, when Adam gives the box to Anna’s boyfriend Tyler (Caleb Milby), the creature comes out of the box in view of everyone to kill the young man.  As bodies pile up, Adam makes some really bad choices regarding the deaths of loved ones and in trying to rid himself of the cursed box, the police start becoming suspicious and begin investigating the family as they had been part of an investigation once before over the death of another son.

Gremlin, from its terrifying opening scene to the last surprise, is a satisfying ‘creature feature movie’ and a scary one to boot as it incorporates a mystical demonic feel to it! The writers showed that they have an aptitude for storytelling and fleshing out the backstory of the creature they have created. The CGI effects in this movie are some of the best I have ever seen in this kind of genre…that little monster in a box is genuinely creepy while evoking a sort of xenomorph type look to it. 

The acting in Gremlin is decent, especially from all the ones who have death scenes at the hands of the creature. Adam Hampton brings the ‘just a normal guy’ feel to his character, which makes his immersion into this insane thing happening to him and his family even more believable as he struggles to deal with it.

Gremlin is not the cute and fuzzy or the comedic toned movie of Gremlins. You don’t want to take this creature home with you and no rules apply except if it comes into your possession, you have to decide which loved one will you possibly sacrifice to save the world!

Marla’s Score: 8/10

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