“SNATCHERS” is a horror/comedy directed by Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleimen that had its premiere at SXSW. Based from their short film of the same name, the story follows Sara. She’s a seemingly normal teenager that is focused on status and popularity. Her boyfriend comes home from a Mexico trip and after having sex for the first time, she wakes up the next day nine-months pregnant. With an alien.
I caught this at one of the midnight screenings and it was a wild time. It was over-the-top in many of the ways you would want from this plot-line. The cast showed effort in creating energy and personality for their roles to give them just enough substance. And most important, this movie knew what it was and showed ambition in crafting a capable horror film with a natural sense-of-humor. The plot was ridiculous in a comical way and the humor wrapped around it was equally vibrant. At times I was laughing with the film and others I was laughing at it. But that was the intention. The movie took itself seriously but also had a ton of fun with itself and the charisma was more than appealing enough to make this an enjoyable genre film.
The story-line could have been developed more but it didn’t necessarily need to be. There wasn’t much more that was needed to be known about the characters. Plus, with the performances pumping personality into them there was more than enough backdrop to invest in. It created genuine interest and curiosity to see how the story would end. Many crazy sequences deliver both dark and twisted amusement, as well as solid practical-effects to make it feel comfortable in the realm of the indie horror genre. The budget was small in scope but the visual polish and crafting of the film do not show it. So, the result was a surprisingly effective horror movie. Blended with shades of a high school raunch-com, splashed with a subtle coming-of-age subplot, and each of these elements work great together.
There are some shock-value sequences, but they work. I think the entire premise is shock-value. The filmmakers seemed to embrace that fact therefore it all works onscreen. I laughed a lot both from genuine comical beats, and from some genuine WTF moments and it was naturally engaging. This film may not be for everyone, but I think if you enjoy this sub-genre there is a lot of entertainment to be found here. There is a variety to the personalities of the side-characters as well, and they help to keep some of the laughs fresh. The run-time does stretch a little long. I think there were some scenes that could have been clipped to keep the progression of the story and the character-arcs moving steadily. With these scenes left in some of the laughs feel repetitive and a mild feeling of fatigue sets in. But it’s only momentarily before the final-act wraps things up with all the ludicrously fun spectacle you would expect.