After status-obsessed teen Sara has sex for the first time, she wakes up the next day nine months pregnant with an alien.
Sex is dangerous. Well, unprotected sex is anyway. That is the big message that writers Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, and Scott Yacyshyn are trying to push with their new horror comedy splatterfest Snatchers. Here a young high school student makes a vital mistake that ends up having out-of-this-world consequences, delivering a better than average comedy that only suffers from a few intermittent slow spots.
You see, Sara (Mary Nepi) hopes to get to the next level with her doofus boyfriend Skyler (Austin Fryberger) after he returns from a summer trip to Mexico. Well, her judgment gets blurred. Before you know it the two have done the deed without a net. ‘Okay it’ll be fine’ Sara murmurs to herself while staring at the ceiling, and she wakes up the next morning nine months pregnant (in Earth years that is). Sara immediately turns to her nerdy friend Hayley (Gabrielle Elyse) for assistance. Please, stick with me here. Before you know it larvae shoots out of Sara’s vagina to begin finding a nesting place for its future spawn.
“…larvae shoots out of Sara’s vagina to begin finding a nesting place for its future spawn.”
The stage is set. Sara and Hayley have to locate the errant parasite, and the nesting place, to destroy the hive and save the world. There is a lot going on here but it is a hell of a lot of fun. What results is a crazy buddy comedy that hits dizzying heights and jarring expositional moments.
Let’s start off with praise where it’s due. Nepi and Elyse have a palpable chemistry that makes the entire film work. The two take the beats, the dialogue, and the truly absurd circumstances, and make them relatable and very human. Next, the message that Cedars, Kleiman, and Yacyshyn are delivering is solid; responsibility is cool. Finally, we have the screwball conceit that an alien being has circuitously impregnated a young female and plans to infest the planet.
So why doesn’t the movie reach the dizzying heights that it hopes to achieve? Pacing. Simply put it is the pacing that does this film in. That is not to say that this is a fun movie, it is. However, with a few very judicious cuts this film could have been on the level of Dead Alive or Bad Taste. If it weren’t for the humdrum moments in between, the pacing would have held us in its grip.
“…a fun, crazy, sci-fi-horror-gore-comedy that delivers a healthy little message…”
What is good? Nearly everything else. The gore is wonderful, the comedy is en pointe and as was stated, I totally bought the connection between the two leads. I was also taken by the editing that punctuated jokes with a clever pop and the practical effects that delivered sincere moments of absurdity.
The verdict? This is a fun, crazy, sci-fi-horror-gore-comedy that delivers a healthy little message and still manages to be a silly bit of fun. I really can’t wait to see what Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, & Scott Yacyshyn do next. Given the right budget, these minds will create something out of this world.
Snatchers (2019) Directed by Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman. Written by Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, Scott Yacyshyn. Starring Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse. Snatchers screened at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.
8 out of 10 stars