Gremlins ★★★½

Hooptober #17

I haven't seen Gremlins since I was a kid. I don't know just how much I saw back then as I only remember little bits. So I was curious how I would respond to Gremlins as an adult.

Well I find myself mixed. I really respect Joe Dante's films because there's clearly skill, passion, and heart put into them. His love of cinema is infectious. However I'm yet to truly love one of his films. It's probably just my personal taste. I'm not a huge fan of the Spielberg affiliated genre fare from the 1980s (which also includes Back to the Future and Poltergeist), partially because they now rely on a lot of nostalgia that I don't have and also because I feel they don't live up to Spielberg's directorial output around the same time. None of these films are as balanced nor as impeccably put together as what Spielberg was achieving in the Indiana Jones films and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Gremlins is an odd, ragtag movie filled with random bits and pieces that come together as a very entertaining whole. The streaks of dark and offbeat humour really give it some edge. The evident love for older films is delightful, and the music is really great. Other things don't work so well. The human characters are uninteresting and forgettable. The deadpan conversations about depression and death are boring as well as off-putting. For everything Gremlins does right there's a tiny something that feels a little off.

Gremlins is fun, whilst also playing itself as a bit edgier than expected. All of which makes for a horror comedy that really works for the most part. At times it leans too heavily on ideas and characters that aren't well developed, but when there's gremlins around it really comes to life. Basically, I don't love Gremlins, but I had fun.

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