New Horror Releases: Gremlin (2017) – Reviewed

Available now on VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment is the creature feature Gremlin, which is equal parts Hellraiser, The Ring, and Gremlins. Combining those concepts together for an interesting premise is pretty much the only thing going for this film, as it suffers from poor execution, a bad script and even shoddier dialogue, average CGI effects, and some of the worst acting imaginable. From Ryan Bellgardt, director of Army of Frankenstein, this is easily one of the worst movies released this year. 

The story involves a murderous creature that is contained within a mysterious box, which can only be passed onto someone that you love. A husband receives the box and must decide if he will pass it onto someone else in order to save his family, or find another way to avoid unleashing the monster. The whole premise of uniting a Ring-style curse with a monster-in-a-box has a lot of potential; it is just thoroughly wasted here. Multiple problems curse this production from the start, most notably the script and its clunky dialogue. This is clearly a B-movie creature feature and it shouldn’t have gone the route of trying to maintain such a serious tone. Opting for more humor and even perhaps a drive-in style campiness would have helped improve upon things and made it less of a strain to sit through. Instead, the script is far too serious and includes some darker topics such as marital infidelity and a dissolving relationship, teen pregnancy, and the death of a child. There are so many moments where the characters are completely obsessed with these issues rather than focusing on the monster that is trying to kill them. Without going into any specifics, let’s just say that it is completely outlandish at times. 

Aside from a couple of scenes here and there, the acting is almost universally terrible. With any indie motion picture, there is generally a lowered expectation when it comes to the casts’ acting abilities, but this is a new level of bad acting. They come off as random people pulled off of the street with no acting experience whatsoever, asked to play these characters in a movie. The conversations don’t seem believable most of the time, their reactions are nonsensical, and their delivery of the dialogue is off. It’s so bad that you have to wonder if they have had any experience conversing with other human beings, let alone question if they're even are human. On top of that, most of the cast can’t display the adequate emotions necessary for the dark situations that are called for in the script, adding even more awkwardness to scenes involving a fractured family and a monster picking them off. It is reminiscent of the acting in Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, minus the cult charm or appeal that it has garnered. 

I told you not to feed it after midnight
There is a decent amount of blood and a moderate body count, but that isn’t nearly enough to keep horror fans engaged for 90 minutes. The average CGI effects are likely to distract as well, especially during the finale. Gremlin fails on almost every level and it becomes difficult to watch even at an early stage of the movie, making it a laborious task to just reach the end credits. Even for a late night creature feature, it isn’t entertaining enough to recommend.

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