‘Snatchers’ disappoints in attempt at throwback horror

Noah Levine

“Snatchers” is a horror comedy from directors Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman that is adapted from the short film and web series of the same name. The film follows friends Sara and Hayley as they find themselves in the midst of an alien invasion after unprotected sex results in Sara giving birth to an alien baby. The film stars Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse and J.J. Nolan.

The main cast work sufficiently with the source material they are given, but the unfunny jokes and exaggerated representations hold their performances down. The two lead characters, who should be the most interesting, are a bit boring and not emotionally engaging as they are pretty much used as joke machines. The two more intriguing characters are J.J Nolan’s Kate and Austin Fryberger’s Skyler. Kate is struggling to comprehend her daughter’s relationship decisions, and it is evident her performance has layers to it. Unfortunately, this character is merely an add-on to Sara’s storyline. Skyler, on the other hand, delivers comedy with grace, particularly achieving with visual comedy in his physical performance. Similar to Kate, Skyler is reduced to a side character and is not featured nearly enough in the film.

So much of the dialogue in is far away from what actually resonates with a young audience. Teen characters say things like “grody” and send eggplant emojis as they are is the funniest thing in the world. These concepts and phrases are quite possibly the farthest from how a modern teenager actually acts, implying that the writers of the script are extremely out of touch with the represented audience. Whether this was intentional or not, it comes off as particularly lazy as these recycled generic teenager cliches weren’t even funny in the first place.

The film is at its best when it embraces its twisted dark humor. One highlight includes a scene where the characters are using multiple severed hands to try and activate a finger scan door lock. It is the kind of cheesy visual gag that one would expect from a raunchy horror film like this, unfortunately these moments are limited and given a backseat to scenes that believe they are hilariously representing teenage interactions. It is baffling that the writers believed a scene in which a brother and sister slap each other in a sissy fight is actually funny. The comedy is outdated and completely out of touch.

The film partly redeems itself with its appropriately cheesy creature designs. The devilish crab-like creatures in the film are the perfect amount of creepy and comedic. Smart puppeteering lends itself to great visual gags in which the alien is able to move its facial features, seemingly conveying emotions. The creatures are clearly inspired by the likes of the film “Alien” and help add a bit of entertaining nostalgia to an overwhelmingly disappointing experience. The gore effects are neat with one particularly memorable moment featuring a gruesome visual of a man’s eye impaled by a pen. The outrageous bloodshed is very reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” films, with one character even uttering the iconic line —  “Groovy” — before biting the bullet. Although, without the substance to support a good story, the effects and visuals are just a fancy looking band-aid to the film.

With the right amount of fine-tuning, this film could’ve been an exceptional dark comedy with a smart metaphor for the dangers of teen pregnancy and toxic masculinity. Instead, it sacrifices true emotional moments for outdated jokes and literal sissy fights. “Snatchers” attempt to harness the power of old school horror is hindered greatly by juvenile humor and shallow use of a metaphor to represent the dangers of unprotected sex and toxic relationships.

RATING: 1.9/5