‘Snatchers’ Is An Unexpected Bundle of Meaning and Gore [Review]
Accidentally getting pregnant as a teen could be a pretty surreal experience, one unexpectedly out of this world. Realizing the permanent responsibility you have for another living human being can cause some major changes in your life, physically, mentally, financially, and socially. Welcoming new life into existence should be a joyous occasion, but for those who are not expecting the expected, a pregnancy is seen less as the miracle of life and more like the mark of death. While there’s a notion we don’t typically question when baby news breaks, directors Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman’s (Olde Money Boyz) new streaming series, Snatchers, asks: What happens if the baby isn’t human?
Starring Mary Nepi (Lucy’s Tale), Gabrielle Elyse (The Thundermans), Austin Fryberger (The Night Stalker), J.J. Nolan (Echoes), Nick Gomez (Bosch), and Rich Fulcher (Drunk History), Snatchers is a horror comedy about Sara, a teenager who will do anything to maintain her admirable social status, even if it means losing her virginity to the wrong guy, cutting off her best friend, Hayley, and bringing her terrible attitude home to her single mother, Kate. No less than 24 hours after the deed is done, Sara finds herself pregnant at an uncontrollably fast rate. Enlisting the aid of Hayley, Sara tries desperately to fight the extraterrestrial monster growing inside of her, finding out where it came from, and keeping it all a secret from her mother.
As a rad mashup of modern horror and slapstick comedy, Cedars and Kleiman’s Snatchers have perfected the formula.
Inspired by their older sisters’ growing pains and journey through the horrors of adolescence, Cedars and Kleiman have collaborated with Stage 13, a division of Warner Bros., to produce eight episodes of Snatchers’ first season. Snatchers has the fun, modern gleam of Tragedy Girls and Happy Death Day, the dark humor nostalgia of Army of Darkness, the style of Shaun of the Dead, the wit and heart of Juno, and the atrocious, yet hysterical gore of Drag Me to Hell. Early on this series shows true symptoms of originality. It bears the fruit of style, has a meaningful, relevant team in further utilizes a keen, modern dialogue along with impressive physical and CGI effects. This is one of those stories that balances a perfect amount of style and substance. The series of Snatchers is one diagnosis you won’t need a second opinion on. Cedars and Kleiman are able to deduce good, entertaining horror with the correct symptoms and know exactly how to make a symbolic little happy face turn into a frown real quick!
Style and Meaning, Doi!
I think one of the primary factors that contributed the most to my enjoyment of Snatchers is the quality of the cinematography and how well it compliments the tone. A bold influence is present throughout with quirky colors, moderate attitude, and a crude playfulness to the characters and alien monsters alike. Moments are spliced, montaged, timed, and cut effortlessly, paying special attention to each scene in terms of style and meaning.
Oftentimes in horror, a character’s decision to have sex, especially the virgin, ultimately seals their fate in doom. It’s a common trope within the genre (it’s Randy’s Rule #1!) and serves to act as a punishment to reckless teenagers. Sex without protection, on the other hand, further narrows the category as horror embraces its continuous modern edge. This decision reproduces some alternative outcomes one may consider worse than death, reflecting life with dangerous consequences that are not easily solved or tormentingly reoccur the way Snatchers does with Sara’s birth of horny, continuously reproduced alien monsters.
Snatchers was able to use modern dialogue and reach a level of dry humor with good content to make something that checks off all the necessary components to a good sci-fi horror for a majority of all viewers. That is not easily done.
In order to stay relevant and socially admired, Sara loses her virginity to the ultimate high school bro. Desperation and relatable social pressures threaten her need to belong and cause her relationship with her best friend, Hayley, and her mom to disintegrate. Sara’s carnal sin of replacing those closest to her with the importance of sex with a bonehead is the real justifiable lesson to be taught in Snatchers. When the beings are birthed, they literally take over everyone around her and go on an obsessive, lust-fueled, ancient sex binge, much like her popularity motives from the beginning. The allegories are divisive, but maintain an appreciated subtlety as Snatchers equally aims to please by flexing fertile muscles in special effects, dialogue, pacing, imagery, and action.
I’m usually highly selective in the amount of comedy combined with my horror. Few films out there combining the two genres can grab my attention, but Snatchers seem to be able to do it in a way that was flawless and enjoyable. Not only was the script simplistic in a necessary way, but the dialogue between the characters was authentic, funny, and exceptionally modern. With subtle parallels to Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body), the script’s ability to incorporate the slang terms of today between Sara and Hayley as well as the other high school students without going the cliché route of tacky was surprisingly impressive. Sometimes trying to appeal to a younger audience leaves your more seasoned viewers rolling their eyes. I think Snatchers was able to use modern dialogue and reach a level of dry humor with good content to make something that checks off all the necessary components to a good sci-fi horror for a majority of all viewers. That is not easily done.
Snatchers has the fun, modern gleam of Tragedy Girls and Happy Death Day, the dark humor nostalgia of Army of Darkness, the style of Shaun of the Dead, the wit and heart of Juno, and the atrocious, yet hysterical gore of Drag Me to Hell.
No Bore Gore
Acting as a teen body horror, Snatchers goes above and beyond with its use of CGI and practical effects. When first made aware of its streaming platform, and its a hokey storyline, I wouldn’t blame initial viewers for immediately expecting for this to be some sort of B-rated series. However, like Sara’s pregnancy, Snatchers is everything good the unexpected could be as far as visuals, imagery, and special effects. I imagine it would be difficult to show alien organisms shooting out of our main character like a “T-shirt canon”, but for some reason all of the gore and viscera works here. You might think the quality of a streaming series’ monster alien props, digital application, and blood display would more than likely look cheap or artificial, but each scene has a fun, effectively glowing appeal. The work done in Snatchers reflects the influence of Sam Raimi and Edgar Wright. The level of blood splatter, alien movement, and otherworldly deliveries is a supreme high point for Snatchers.
The allegories are divisive, but maintain an appreciated subtlety as Snatchers equally aims to please by flexing fertile muscles in special effects, dialogue, pacing, imagery, and action.
The only outstanding criticism I have when it comes to Snatchers is solely personal. I am more angry at myself for underestimating its quality strictly because of its release platform. Horror and filmmakers have come a long way. This has taught me the valuable lesson that talent and care cannot be stifled by budget or platform. As a rad mashup of modern horror and slapstick comedy, Cedars and Kleiman’s Snatchers has perfected the formula.
‘Snatchers’ Is An Unexpected Bundle of Meaning and Gore [Review]
When it comes to teen pregnancy, anything unexpected is far from enjoyable. Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman’s Snatchers, however, is one unexpected twisted tale on pregnancy and adolescence that will surely surprise viewers with its healthy factors of gore, dialogue, meaning, and heart. It’s not a boy. It’s not a girl. It’s an alien!