Writer/Director Ryan Bellgardt‘s attempt to play with one Gremlin (this film’s title) instead of many might be better served if the tiny jinx was named something else. This name implies the titular creature is based on the folklore. Whether that’s with the classic Twilight Zone episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” or Joe Dante’s 1980’s horror comedy, I feel this movie is better off being renamed.
If there are any connections with the lore, B-horror movie fans can find out when it releases July 11 on VOD.
The type of gremlin I know came into prominence circa 1918, when aviators claimed mischievous imps were messing around with their planes. Many deaths occurred because some mechanical part got sabotaged. Over time, they earned the reputation of being the bane of many an engineer. They will fiddle with any technical instrument. This SyFy Network style movie of the week suggests there’s a Gremlin in every box, and the strange markings on it are counting down to doomsday.
The version found in this film shows them willing to kill. The design of the box is inspired from another design, namely the Lament Configuration from Hellraiser, and the origins suggests the monster came from some forgotten gypsy legend.
The performances from the cast are varied. The femme fetales are more inspiring than the detective investigating a string of deaths. These former owners died because they once owned the said box. And in what transpires next has all the makings of a Lovecraftian style movie. Sadly, it goes nowhere.
Had this box been a dybbuk cabinet containing a restless spirit than imp, then Bellgardt might have developed a far more engaging film. I love ghost stories first and monster movies second. Films about cursed objects are third. Two out of three is not too bad, but that’s not this film’s score. When considering this producer’s previous work, Army of Frankensteins, is worth seeking out for its cheesy execution. This one, not so much.
Sadly, when the wrong kind of creature is offered up to reviewers like me who really knows their supernatural legends and lore, no amount of tinkering can save the movie. Not even a willing suspension of belief here can work. I wanted to call this movie, Revenge of the Spider-Beast.
2 Stars out of 5