There are so many amazing films at SXSW it’s easy to miss some. Fortunately, we spotted Snatchers in the booklet and after reading how it was about a girl impregnated by an alien we had to head over to the state theater for a midnight showing.
Snatchers is a hilarious horror/comedy with a bit of scifi-action. A cautionary tale about visiting Mexico and having unprotected sex. The film is co-directed by Benji Kleiman and Stephen Cedars who having been friends since 4th grade have amazing chemistry. They started in sketch comedy with Scott Yacyshyn and together they co-wrote the film. For me the strongest elements of the movie were the jokes. They were always just one step ahead of the audience and had the theater roaring.
There is a lot of teen slang but it grew on me over time and added another layer of depth to the world. Importantly, the characters were well cast. Everyone had killer deliveries that sold, and elevated the dialogue which on paper would have had me second guessing. Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, and Austin Fryberger all give strong comedic performances. Snatchers was plenty gorey in a campy Evil Dead sorta way and the creature was well designed using practical effects. Always a plus for me. It reminded me a lot of a Gremlin especially since you could see one at the Austin Museum of the weird not too far away.
The movie was not just well-crafted but polished, and the pace and dialogue so quick you might be laughing through the next bit but by adding small details that not only enrich the world but foreshadow events the movie has a lot of rewatchability. It was the most fun we had at the movies at SXSW hands down, a fun crowd watch and handed out themed condoms after the show.
Unlike a lot of comedies out there Snatchers has a style. The camera moves, and gets used to its fullest extent to not just capture the comedy but become a part of it, and creating humor using filmmaking which to me is quite refreshing. A Lot of comedies nowadays are lit flatly so the actors can improvise endlessly but I’m happy to report that’s not the case here. With zollys, crash zooms, and whip pans, Snatchers feels heavily influenced by the work of Edgar Wright, Sam Rami, and Steven Spielberg who apparently is a bad tipper. A waiter around the corner from the theater told us that. It’s a rumor. It’s going around now. Steven if you’re listening. Tip your wait staff. Come on.
After the film we were able to talk to the directors and grab a picture and the next day Echo was able to ask them some questions on camera. They are a couple of the coolest dudes, totally down to earth.
I highly recommend Snatchers. It has heart, it has style, the people who made it are great. I promise you’ll have a fun time at the theater, or with a crowd. The horror elements could have been a little scarier, but the comedy is what really shines and if you love fun filmmaking and clever dialogue you’ll love this film. 9/10