Tinkering with the Gremlin Formula, A Movie Review

29 Jun

gremlin-2017-ryan-bellgardt-monster-movie-posterBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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 via Uncork’d Entertainment.

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 makes a suggestion of these creatures are living in a gear box of their lord’s making and the strange markings on it are counting down to doomsday. The version found in this film shows them willing to kill the loved ones of whomever is given the container. The design of the box looks like it’s 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 occurring because the people once owned the said box. I did take an interest on what this officer of the law discovered, and it had all the makings of following down a Lovecraftian style direction but I felt disappointed at seeing him bite it than go looney.

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 but beautiful 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

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