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  Snatchers Abort the alien baby
Year: 2019
Director: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman
Stars: Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, J.J. Nolan, Austin Fryberger, Nick Gomez, Rick Fulcher, Ashley Argota, Amy Landecker, Logan Rogan, Alex Skinner, Amy Arburn, Gabriella Gourdin, David H. Stevens, Mark Sande, David Christian Welborn, Cathleen Mason
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Everything seems to be going great for status obsessed high schooler Sara (Mary Nepi) until she has sex with her boyfriend Schuyler (J.J. Nolan) for the first time. The next morning Sara wakes up nine months pregnant and ready to pop. With no-one to turn to for help she reaches out to her estranged friend Hayley (Gabrielle Elyse). But when they visit the abortion clinic Sara suddenly births a bloodthirsty alien monster! It murders the doctor and nurse then uses mind control to puppeteer a passing anti-abortion protester and goes screeching into the night. Freaked out beyond belief Sara is even more alarmed to discover her womb holds another monster waiting to be born. With cops on their trail Sara and Hayley race against the clock to uncover the truth behind the former's unearthly pregnancy and stop whatever diabolical plan the monsters are hatching.

Having evolved from a short film in 2015 to a 2017 web micro-series featuring the same cast Snatchers has been described by its creators and stars as a “cross between Mean Girls (2004) and Alien (1979); although one could just as easily label it a melange of Juno (2007) and It Follows (2014). As with the Tina Fey-penned classic alongside other recent gems Blockers (2018) and Booksmart (2019) the script, authored by co-directors Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman along with co-writer Scott Yacyshyn, exhibits a witty and believable grasp of teen girl psychology, sexual anxiety, the perils of peer pressure and the age-old high school dilemma of balancing the need to "fit in" with staying true to oneself. As with the best horror comedies it also has a layer of warmth and humanism to counterbalance its snarky satire and gory shock moments.

The influence of horror-comedy specialists Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg is also apparent in the film's crash zooms, rapid-fire editing, comic book angles (although the direction is not quite as consistent alternating dynamic, energized sequences with curiously flat, uninspired staging), use of horror concepts as a metaphor for dealing with very human social anxieties and crucially a buddy dynamic. Instead of Pegg and Nick Frost, Snatchers serves up Mary Nepi and Gabrielle Elyse as a snappily scripted, instantly engaging pair of young leads. Nepi, shouldering the more complex role, daringly flirts with portraying an unlikable heroine as she lashes out at anyone that tries to help. Yet Sara's reactions ring true of a terrified pregnant teenager while the plot charts her gradual maturation, assuming responsibility while her feckless boyfriend all but shrugs it off and eventually risking her life to save not only those closest to her but the world. Meanwhile Elyse exhibits serious star potential as the cute nerd girl who snags the best one-liners.

Had Snatchers been filmed only three years later in the wake of the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade one can't help but wonder whether the filmmakers might have been spurred to fashion a more potent satire. As it is the film eventually abandons all pretense at a teen pregnancy/abortion allegory to become a more straightforward monster romp. Less ambitious but nonetheless entertaining. Utilizing gratifyingly icky practical effects (the monsters resemble a cross between Xenomorphs and the creatures from cult Eighties favourite The Deadly Spawn (1983)) Snatchers concocts some hilarious scenarios without crossing the line into bad taste.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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