Gremlin is the newest film from Ryan Bellgardt and Uncork’d Entertainment. I know what you’re thinking, finally, Gremlin 3 is happening! While that’s a possibility, this isn’t it. Gremlin has as much to do with the Gremlins franchise as my cat does. Starring Adam Hampton and Kristy K. Boone, the film is described as “Godzilla meets The Ring in a thrilling and uniquely-scripted horror jaunt that boasts amazing computer-generated effects from some of the best in the game.” I wish I could say that description holds up, but it doesn’t.
It’s easy to look at a bad movie and point out all of its flaws. It’s significantly harder to find some merit in the same bad movie. The idea behind Gremlin is a good one, and I think it’s an interesting concept. Here’s what IMDb has as the synopsis:
“A man receives a mysterious box containing a terrible secret, a creature that will kill everyone else in his family unless he passes it on to someone he loves to continue its never-ending circulation.”
It’s a neat concept and one that really could set up a good horror movie. You know you have to pass the box on, or else you and everyone else you love will be killed. The problem is that if you do pass it on to someone you love, and they don’t pass it on, you still end up losing someone you love. It’s a tough scenario, and I want to praise the film for having a smart concept behind it.
Gremlin isn’t a slow movie, either. There is plenty of action in the movie to keep everyone focused on the film. There’s some decent fight scenes in which the main character, Adam, has to fight the titular Gremlin. The action manages to keep things somewhat tense. While the action was decent and kept the film from being boring, it did not salvage the film.
Now on to the bad parts of the film, and unfortunately, there’s quite a bit. Looking above at the description, it would make you think that this is a film with CGI on the same level as films like Avatar, Jurassic Park and the Transformers series. Sadly, this isn’t the case. I watched this bad sci-fi movie a few years ago involving a giant snake and a scorpion, and I remember just how awful it looked. I can’t remember the name, but Gremlin reminded me of that film. The effects felt cheap, and never looked right on screen. The ending, especially, felt like one of those generic SyFy movies that plays at 3 in the morning. Moving past the Gremlin, the box it comes out of felt like it was an off-brand Lemarchand’s box from Hellraiser. It’s not an attractive box, and it doesn’t help that it looks like it’s just copying an already famous box.
The acting is another part that did Gremlin no favors. The actors sounded monotone, and just did not sound convincing at all. The various plot points throughout the film never felt important, and the actors and actresses did not make me care about them or what was happening. The tension between Adam and his wife felt forced, along with the tension between Adam and his teenage daughter. It even looked like some of the actors were trying to hide a smile during some of the more tense scenes in the film.
Finally, there are just storylines that are only briefly touched upon or never explained at all. Adam’s affair with his coworker doesn’t really make sense in the grand scheme of the film. It felt like it was just thrown in to add some drama to the film. The same thing with the story of the family’s kidnapped and slain child. Sometimes it’s better to work with what you have, than to throw random plot points in to try and make the film more dramatic. None of the details we’re given about the family to make them more likable, and none of them made me care whether they lived or died. I can really only equate these to the weird twist in The Room when it’s revealed Denny is doing drugs. They felt out of the blue, and weren’t necessary.
I went into Gremlin with an open mind, and I wanted to see it do well. I liked the idea of the film, and I thought that if done right, it could be a really interesting story. Unfortunately, Gremlin just does not work. The acting is poor, as is the CGI and the additional plot points. Gremlin is out on VOD July 11th. Let us know if you plan on checking the film out, and what your thoughts are once it is out!