Deckard🥃’s review published on Letterboxd:
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!
"With Mogwai, comes much responsibility. I cannot sell him at any price."
Gremlins is a classic film, It's actually perfect to watch on both Halloween and Christmas, as it works as both a horror film and a family film too. It's been a while since I've seen this, and I'm seeing this in a new light now. It was definitely nice to revisit this gem as it's been some time and it never ceases to disappoint.
Struggling inventor, Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) is searching for a Christmas present for his son, Billy (Zach Galligan) in Chinatown. In an antique store he comes across a small furry creature called a "Mogwai", which he purchases for two hundred dollars. However there are three important rules: Never expose it to bright light (especially sunlight, which will kill it); never get it wet; and, most importantly: no matter how much it cries or begs, never feed it after midnight. As Randall's son Billy enjoys the Mogwai, now named Gizmo, he accidentally breaks the three rules, which results in the horrific formations of Mogwai's called Gremlins, which are now causing mayhem on the eve of Christmas, leaving Billy to put an end to it all.
When I said I saw this in a new light, I'm talking about the fact that I view this more-so now as a horror film. I mentioned in the opening of this review that it too can be a family film, with it's comedic moments, family undertones, and light hearted nature, I definitely see this more than ever as a horror film. A fantasy horror film at best. Once the gremlins come out it mixes in scares with dark humor and works beautifully, and ventures into being over-the-top, such as a gremlin exploding in a microwave. It certainly is a bit violent for a PG rated film, but it still works very well, and even freaked the hell out of me when I was kid.
The effects are great, no scratch that, fantastic. The mogwai known as Gizmo is a cute, furry little creature that just tugs on your heartstrings and definitely has tons of affection. The evil gremlins are probably the best highlight of the film. They're darkly comical, and twisted and have unique personality, though evil. The mogwai's are all practical, all puppets, and thirty years later, they still look awesome. I'm a strong advocate for practical effects, and I'm not too crazy on CGI (unless done right and only used when necessary), call it being bias, but I grew up watching films with practical effects before the giant CGI craze. The music and the cinematography are also great as they really heighten the mood depending on the scene.
Now for the only negatives I have. While I love this film, I feel as if the acting is terrible. The characters are all typical, and the acting while I wouldn't say is forced, but rather dull and uninspiring. The dialogue is also pretty cringeworthy too. The only reason I let it off the hook is because I've grown up with this film. The other negative is the climax, the face off between Billy and the gremlin leader, Stripe. I feel as if it goes on far too long, and it really loses steam quickly. It could've benefitted from being shorter and much more impactful in my opinion. That's probably because as an adult now, I view it differently than I did as a kid, but I still it's too long.
As a whole, Gremlins is a really classic holidays film. It's just got so much going for it, despite the only two negatives I have against it. It doesn't get lessar in quality with each viewing, but rather becomes better and is the perfect film to throw on, late at night, with the lights off and to just relax and view. It's a great film.
"Tell me something, Billy. How come a cute little guy like this can turn into a thousand ugly monsters?"