Director: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman
Script: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman & Scott Yacyshyn
Cast: Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, J J Nolan, Austin Fryberger, Nick Gomez
Running time: 97 minutes
Sara (Mary Nepi) is just an ordinary high-school girl who is under the usual pressures that most teenage girls find themselves under, i.e. to look good, act cool, say the right things, mix in the right ‘cool’ circles of friends and get laid. Sara finally does the latter for the first time with her kind-of boyfriend, Skyler, who’s a bit dim, but is also a bit of a hunk and has just returned from a holiday in Mexico looking good with his new natural tan.
When Sara wakes up the next day she finds herself sporting a fair-sized tummy bump so gets a pregnancy kit – it’s positive! She persuades one of her more trusted friends, ex-bestie, Hayley (Gabrielle Elyse), to accompany her to a free medical centre to get herself properly checked out. She is indeed miraculously nine months pregnant, but how? She only lost her virginity the day before!
It soon becomes starkly apparent that this is no normal pregnancy and that Sara has been impregnated, via Skylar (Austin Fryberger), by insect-like aliens of some kind, and these creatures are very protective of their young and want to use mankind to spread their seed far and wide, as it were. Cue lots of crazy encounters with the critters and mucho blood and gore as heads explode and people get sliced up left, right and centre.
Snatchers was an official selection at Sundance 2017 and at the 2019 SXSW and Stiges film festivals and I can see why film festival organisers would like to programme it as the film is a guaranteed audience pleaser, and is the sort of flick that is fun to watch with a group of like-minded people and friends. It certainly plays to the crowd.
The performances are all good, especially the leads, and also Nick Gomez playing a wannabe heroic cop. The visual effects are nicely done and are, for the most part, as practical and ‘in camera’ as can be, and there’s plenty of witty dialogue between the characters. Much of it is teen-speak – “I’m soo f’ed”; “Man-slut”; “I don’t want to vag-canon anyone else tonight!” – being some fine examples. The interplay between the leads is good and the soundtrack is of high quality, if a bit unimaginative.
Probably my favourite scene involves the gynaecologist at the clinic who, whilst examining Sara and saying: “Well, there’s nothing down here I haven’t seen before!” suddenly gets decapitated by a flying alien bug monster…
Although Snatchers did tick a lot of boxes for me – crazy concept, cool vicious aliens, funny dialogue, pretty women, gross-out gags and gore – it does feel a bit too much just that, a tick-box exercise, albeit one that has a great beginning, a so-so middle section and a decent enough ending. However, saying that, I’d certainly recommend it to a fair few of my equally crazy friends.
Warner Bros are distributing Snatchers on DVD and Blu-Ray. There are a number of special features including:
Audio Commentary with directors Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman and writer Scott Yacyshyn
The Birth of Snatchers: A behind-the-scenes look (14 mins) – A fun featurette where the creators talk us through some of the trials and tribulations of the shoot. They reveal that they wanted to make a popcorn adventure movie, but with an underlying message about self-worth and friendship. They also reveal that they all have older sisters who shared their difficult high school experiences with them and those experiences have helped to inform the script. They also talk about the location, which sounds like a real find; an all-in-one sort of place that was due to be demolished so they got it for free and could basically do what they liked in it. Sweet!
Unexpected: The Snatchers blooper reel (3.5 mins) – These are a mixed bag and mostly feature the actors pulling faces or fluffing lines, but are mildly amusing nevertheless.