JT Film Review

50 – Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins REVIEW

2.5/5 stars

Director – Joe Dante

Cast – Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold


— followed by Gremlins 2


gremlins001-150-6191Steven Spielberg produces and Joe Dante directs Gremlins, a strange movie about little savage lizard/gnome/gremlin creatures who essentially destroy a town one winter holiday. The story focuses on a teenage boy, Billy, whose inventor father purchases a furry gremlin for him for Christmas. The boy tries to take care of them, but somehow each of the Three Rules for Gremlin Care are broken, to disastrous results.

The main problem with this movie is that it isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. It seems marketed as a family friendly Christmas flick, yet contains numerous frightening scenes and gory moments. The tone of the movie is just never decided on. The script, by Christopher Colombus, is also quite vague when it comes to certain characters, almost as if they aren’t fleshed out enough. One character in particular, Billy’s dad, is set up to be a main character of the movie but then vanishes essentially for the whole second half of the movie, only to reappear at the end.

The movie is a mess, yes, but it does have a few good moments. A very few. One scene has a girl talking about her fathers death, it is tragic and yet not without a certain dark humor. If the rest of the movie had stuck to that tone we would have had quite a different film, perhaps a good one. As it is though… meh.


This movie doesn’t know what it wants to be. The writer Chris Columbus (often criticized for his tendency to be tepid and “by-the-numbers”)) does nothing to give this film any splash. The plot may be slightly original, but the tone is pure Hollywood sap.



“Gremlins” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



September 27, 2009 - Posted by | 2.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Fantasy, Year - 1980-1989 | , , , ,

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