Snatchers (2019)

Posted on October 18, 2020 in 3 Oogies, Film Reviews, Genre: Horror & Monster

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Snatchers (2019)
Snatchers (2019)

Main cast: Mary Nepi (Sara Steinberg), Gabrielle Elyse (Hayley Chamberlain), Austin Fryberger (Skyler Cole), JJ Nolan (Kate Steinberg), Nick Gomez (Oscar Ruiz), Ashley Argota (Kiana), Amy Arburn (Blair), Amy Landecker (Cheryl), and Rich Fulcher (Dave)
Directors: Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman

Sara Steinberg, formerly a nerdy sort in high school, has fallen in with the cool crowd led by Kiana, and in the process, she becomes increasingly distant from her former nerdy good friend Hayley Chamberlain. Okay, if you ask Hayley, Sara has ghosted her completely. Still, all is well in Sara’s world. Well, that is, until her boyfriend Skyler comes back from a trip to Mexico and starts making heavy hints that they are over because Sara has insisted on waiting for the right time before, you know. Sara is so taken by Skyler’s tan, however, that she decides to just go ahead and lose her virginity with him.

She wakes up the next morning pregnant. Worse, her pregnancy is accelerating way faster than normal, and she seeks out the smartest person she knows to help her out: Hayley. Even Hayley is at loss to explain this bizarre pregnancy, however, so they head over to the next best option: the planned parenthood clinic. Before they can get any answer, our heroine gives birth to an alien bug that immediately shoots out of her to cause the ob-gyn’s head to explode in a shower of CGI blood. The two ladies flee, only to realize that Sara is still pregnant.

Meanwhile, the cop Oscar Ruiz discovers the carnage in the clinic and finds the blood-splattered admittance form with Sara’s name as well as address on it. Of course, then there’s the problem of Skyler’s clearly contaminated (for the want of a better word) semen—he is in an unusually hyper-libidinous state from whatever it is that also turned his semen all weird, and the two ladies have to stop him from going all the way without another unsuspecting lady.

Snatchers—oh, I’m sure the double entendre is intentional—is essentially an expanded movie version of a web series, and that was an expanded version of a short film. Talk about meta. I have never any of the previous incarnations of this story, however, so I am coming in with a clean slate and zero expectations.

What I get is an amusing comedy. Our two young ladies are such self-absorbed teenagers that it is actually an absurd kind of perfect sense that their priorities are all about themselves first and foremost, even when people are probably dying or have died around them. This movie has been compared to Clueless and Mean Girls with monsters thrown into the mix, which I suppose is due to the presence of vapid popular girls like Kiana that talk and act like the stereotypes associated with those movies. Mary Nepsi and Gabrielle Elyse, the latter looking so much like a young Jessica Alba that it’s quite distracting, have good chemistry and comedic timing together, and I especially like how Hayley isn’t some outright nerdy smart girl that is always right like the stereotype would usually entail. Both her and Sara come off as pretty well-rounded, believable teenagers that don’t fit completely into a one-dimensional label.

The movie itself is a bit too tame for its own good, though. The bug monsters never feel particularly threatening, mostly because they look so much like animatronic toys rather than anything threatening, and they also fade into the background too often. The humor in this movie is also a double-edged sword, as with everyone quipping and being sarcastic all the time, there is never any sense of danger or suspense. What subsequently happens is that I find myself far more invested in the friendship between the two ladies, compared to the story itself. Perhaps if the movie had incorporated some body horror or anything else that would be appropriate here, I may be more interested in the horror aspects. As it is, Sara doesn’t feel believably worried or even concerned about what is happening to her. Oh, so she has a bug baby inside of her? Whatever, these people would just make a quip when it pops out.

Because of all this, the movie ends up lacking any gravitas or tension that might have elevated it as a horror movie. Even the way the bugs are defeated feels anticlimactic. Something tells me I won’t remember much about this movie a few days from now. As it is, I have a pretty fun time watching Snatchers, but to be honest, I can’t say I care that much about it.