[Movie Review] Gremlins (1984) ★★★★★

Gremlins brings hilarious chaos during Christmas time, with glee, cuteness and deadly mayhem.

Gremlins is a fantasy comedy horror with over the top kills and humor and with the cutest furry hero. Although it can get quite dark, it’s also brought with comical lightness and slapstick humor. The eighties fantastical vibe is enhanced with the wonderful practical effects and the Gremlins and Gizmo are greatly designed. With a lot of chaos all sort of comical events but also some brutal over the top mayhem, this film also does have an important message about mankind and nature. With full on Christmas vibes this film is a perfect horror comedy for Christmas for the whole family to enjoy. 

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Randall Peltzer is an inventor and finds the perfect gift for his son Billy in an old Chinese store, a cute little creature called a Mogwai. But the owner Mr Wing doesn’t want to sell it to him. Secretly the grandson sells it to him and Billy is overjoyed with Gizmo. But there are some rules. They can’t stand bright light. They can’t get wet and they mustn’t be fed after midnight. So when Billy’s friend comes over, they are a bit careless and water is spilled over Gizmo. Little furry balls grow and jump out of his body which turn out to be eggs and a new batch of Mogwai is born. But they are not so cute as Gizmo and  are breaking the rule to eat after midnight they turn into the Gremlins to raise mayhem and havoc and ruin Christmas. With the help of Kate and Gizmo, Billy has to stop them. 

Why you should watch it

Gremlins is a hilarious film with dark comedy and some brutal horror. But it’s all in great fun. The acts of the Gremlins can be quite brutal but also very over the top and Mrs Deagle is the perfect example as is their neighbor. But Billy’s mother does some real damage to the malevolent Gremlins with a microwave and a blender. Both upgraded inventions of Randall who is also a great source of comic relief with his well-meant but useless inventions. It’s a bit cheesy but sets the tone of the film from the start.

But it starts out as a very cute fantasy comedy. Gizmo is the cutest little furry thing you have ever seen and Billy learns him things and Gizmo seems smarter than an average animal. Although Randall didn’t acquire Gizmo in an honest way. That is the first hidden message of the overall theme of the film. While the Gremlins ca be quite brutal, so is nature when it’s not treated well and with respect. The rules are broken and that results in chaos and even death. And of course a lot of funny scenes. So the overall lesson to be learned is that mankind has to take responsibility how they treat nature and that they have to handle it with care and respect. And especially people who are a bit of a scrooge or are a bit xenophobic really get their share of mayhem and death. 

When the Gremlins are born then the actual dark comedy is about to start with some brutal horror violence. Although only ‘bad people’ die. The Gremlins are hilarious. They even do some Christmas caroling door to door. They go to the movie theatre to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and they even dress up each in their own style. Each Gremlin looks different, and Stripe is the most noticeable with his white stripe on his head. He’s also the leader and the most sinister of te bunch and the one to be stopped. For he has a masterplan to make even more Gremlins. That results in a wonderful fight in the mall and Gizmo driving a toy car is the best car chase ever. 

The whole film is a typical eighties film. With bright colors and special effects with fog and chaos and it fits perfectly with the Christmas vibe. The Gremlins and Gizmo are brought to life in an amazing way and all become different types and personalities. The practical effects are a joy to watch and really add to the fantasy atmosphere of the film.

My favorite part

The scene with Mrs Deagle flying through the air on her chair lift is quite brutal but funny and she had it coming. But the best part is Gizmo. He is such a cute little thing that we can’t blame Billy or Randall for falling in love with him. But as the film ends, the world is not ready to take on such a responsibility when it comes to nature. And sadly 40 years later we still aren’t. Gremlins is a Christmas movie with an important message, but well-balanced out with humor and some great funny action. 


Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★☆

Gruesome factor: ★★★☆☆

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★

Cast and crew

Gremlins is directed by Joe Dante and written by Chris Columbus. It stars Zach Gallligan (Billy Peltzer), Phoebe Cates (Kate Beringer), Hoyt Axton (Randall Peltzer), Polly Holliday (Ruby Deagle), Frances Lee McCain (Lynn Peltzer), Corey Feldman (Pete Fountaine) and Keye Luke (Mr Wing).

Duration: 106 minutes. Music by: Jerry Goldsmith. Cinematography: John Hora. Edited by: Tina Hirsch. Produced by: Michael Finnell. Production company: Warner Bros. Amblin Entertainment. Distributed by: Warner Bros. 

Check the trailer below

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