Directed by Ryan Bellgardt’s (Army of Frankenstein) & starring Adam Hampton, Kristy K. Boone, Catcher Stair, Katie Burgess, Mike Waugh, and Caleb Milby. Gremlin is available digitally on the 11th July 2017.
Adam Thatcher (Hampton) receives a mysterious box from his mother in law that can’t be opened & has a timer made of unknown symbols. He doesn’t think much of it & considering the issues within his family, he hardly needs the distraction.
That night the box opens & something comes out, a small creature with a blood lust. It kills Adam’s mother in law before crawling back into the box. Only the families youngest sees anything & the next morning his cries of ‘the monster that came out of the box & did it’ go unheeded, naturally.
The already fraught relationships between Adam, his wife Julie (Boone) & their teenage daughter, Anna (Burgess) are made worse once the police arrive. With no real explanation, as to how the death occurred, Adam comes under suspicion. Until the creature comes out again.
The box is a curse, one that means the death of everyone you love unless you pass it onto some you truly love. Doing that resets the timer & with no way to kill what is inside, it seems as though Adam has no choice. Especially when the body count begins to increase.
The real question is though…what happens when the timer expires?
Gremlin is all about its payoff, an ending that is violent, gory & a lot of fun. The film doesn’t try to hide what’s in the box, in the opening few minutes the creature is out & killing. It’s an interesting looking thing made up of pretty decent CGI. It’s the star of the film & everything is often less interesting when it isn’t on screen.
While the actors interact with it well (except for one particular scene involving the young boy) there isn’t a lot to enjoy from the characters overall. There isn’t a likeable one in the bunch. The problems in the family relate to the death of a younger child some time ago. Unfortunately this isn’t explored fully so ends up coming off as little more than a minor plot point.
Other characters are too basic & waking clichés. Far too many things are dropped in for absolutely no reason then forgotten about shortly afterwards. An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t really amount to much when the characters involved die shortly afterwards.
As the movie goes on it’s hard to really care what happens to any of the characters. They are often just horrible people! They make terrible decisions (such as hiding bodies in their basement) but the film has no qualms with killing them off. That makes for a tenser experience as characters you would expect to survive, don’t!
Gremlin is the kind of horror that you have to unchain your brain to really enjoy. The acting is a mixed affair, the story dragged out for a little too long but the build towards the silly & fun ending makes it worthwhile.