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Snatchers (2019)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/18/2020

All Ratings out of

Movie: 1/2



Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/11/2020

This statement is going to sound odd to most, but as I get older, I appreciate Re-Animator more and more.  Stuart Gordon’s 1985 masterpiece, loosely based on stories by H.P. Lovecraft, is a gory as it is clever – A wild ride that still comes across as shocking today.  Which raises the question, why don’t more films attempt to mimic this approach?  Sure, we get plenty of gory movies, but most are boring and pedestrian.  And, we get weird films which try something different, but usually get bogged down in their own pretentiousness.  Where are the movies which want to push the envelope, but still be entertaining and fun?  Could Snatchers be that movie?

High school student Sara (Mary Nepi) is shocked when her boyfriend, Skyler (Austin Fryberger), states that he wants to break up.  Determined to maintain their relationship, Sara decides that she will finally relent and have sex with Skyler, despite the fact that he doesn’t have protection.  The next morning, Sara awakens to find that she is pregnant, and by pregnant, I mean that she already has a protruding belly.  Unsure of what to do, she reaches out to her estranged friend, Hayley (Gabrielle Elyse).  Together, they visit a doctor’s office, which is where Sara learns the truth – there is a monster growing inside of her.  Now, she must avoid letter her mom know that she’s expecting, while she attempts to find Skyler and figure out how this could have happened.  Little does Sara know that her bun in the oven could be a threat to the entire planet.

Before we move on with this review, let’s get one thing out of the way; I’m sick and tired of the “friend who got left behind” plot.  This seems to be cropping up in more and more movies, and it often involves females.  You know exactly what I’m talking about – They were friends as kids, possibly through middle school, but in high school, one became more popular and they drifted apart.  Now, thanks to the movie’s story, they must reunite and help one another.  Do people drift apart?  Of course, they do, but we’ve reached a point where this is simply lazy writing, and it becomes an odd way to show that the superficial character can grow and rekindle the friendship with her lost companion.  Here’s an idea, don’t have her be mean in the first place.

OK, but to our review.  Snatchers has seemingly come out of nowhere, and it’s a interesting little movie.  It plays as a very clever hybrid of a coming-of-age high school story and a monster movie.  I can only imagine that the team behind Snatchers pitched it as “Juno meets Predator”.  As odd as it sounds, the movie deftly mixes shades of Alien and The Hidden with a Superbad-like story in which teenaged friends must go on an unplanned adventure.  The first act focuses on Sara and her sudden situation, but it ends with a shocking gore scene which will make even jaded viewers (like myself) sit up and take notice.  From that point, the movie is off and running, slowly morphing from teenage comedy to all-out monster movie. 

Still, throughout, the film never loses its sense of play.  I wouldn’t necessarily call the movie a comedy, although it does have some funny moments, but it does find a nice balance between scenes in which multiple people die and more lighthearted moments.  And, as odd as this may sound, it’s all done with good taste.  The opening credits, which are, again, clearly a homage to Alien, imply that what we are about to watch will not only be gory, but contained some gross sex stuff as well.  The letter does not occur, while the former is kept to somewhat of a minimum.  Yes, there are monsters here and there is blood here, but the movie never slows its pace to be over the top when it comes to grue. 

This leads us to the one real problem with Snatchers, it’s too restrained.  Based on the first violent scene and the fact that the movie is about a teenage girl who lost her virginity and was impregnated with a monster, I thought that the were in for an over-the-top treat.  However, filmmakers Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman and Scott Yacyshyn manage to hold onto the reins.  The result is a film which is certainly playful and fun, but it never “goes there”.  And I’m sure that will be fine for most, but as someone who is always searching for the next Re-Animator, I was disappointed.  Snatchers is a nice first effort.  Maybe next time they’ll truly throw caution to the wind and make something which will blow us away.

Snatchers also throws in a Terminator reference for good measure on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.  The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 15 Mbps.  (Warner releases aren’t known for their high bitrates, but even for them, that’s low.)  The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials.  The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright.  The level of detail is good, and the depth works well.  If anything, the picture isn’t quite as crisp as most other new movies that we see.  The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps.  The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects.  We get several scenes here in which the mix highlights individual sounds in the front and rear speakers.  These contain moments where sounds coming from off-screen are very important.  The subwoofer effects kick into gear during the monster sequences.

The Snatchers Blu-ray Disc contains a few extra features.  We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Co-Directors/Co-Writers Stephen Cedars & Benji Kleiman and Co-Writer Scott Yacyshyn.  “The Birth of Snatchers: A Behind-the-Scenes Look” (14 minutes) has Cedars, Kleiman, and Yacyshyn opening the conversation about how the film came together and what their goals were.  They then break down some key scenes.  We also get some comments from the cast.  “Unexpected: The Snatchers Blooper Reel” (4 minutes) is a real of gaffes.  The extras are rounded out by 2 TRAILERS for the film.

Review Copyright 2020 by Mike Long