SXSW 2019: Snatchers

Mary Nepi, Rich Fulcher, and Gabrielle Elyse in Snatchers.

The fate of humanity is on the line as Snatchers certainly brings all the horror beats to this high school-set comedic action-thriller.

Imagine having sex and waking up to discover you’re pregnant the next day.  Not just pregnant but nine months pregnant.  This is what happens to Sara Steinberg (Mary Nepi) one day after having unprotected sex with ex-boyfriend Skyler (Austin Fryberger).  It’s unfortunate because she just happens to be one of the popular girls at school.  It only gets worse from there because she doesn’t want tell the authorities.  Can you imagine calling the police and being laughed off when you say you woke up nine months pregnant?  It’s laughable in that regards.

Sara hides her pregnancy from everyone she knows including her mother, Kate (JJ Nolan).  The only person that Sara seems to trust is Hayley (Gabrielle Elyse).  Together, the two of them share quite the bonding experience so to speak.  Rather than Kate, it’s Hayley who accompanies Sara to the clinic.  There is a pro-life protester standing outside because of course there is!  I would not expect this any other way.  Where was I?  Oh, right.  The clinic.  Sara gets an ultrasound and much to the shock of all involved, she’s carrying something that’s…not human.  She’s somehow carrying an alien.

It’s bad enough that Sara has to miss Kiana’s (Ashley Argota) big back to school party.  She obviously has her reasons with all the insanity that transpired.  Kiana assumes the worst when neither Sara nor Skyler show up.

So not only does Sara lose her virginity but she somehow gives birth to an extraterrestrial alien. Oh yeah, these aliens aren’t friendly by any means!  Sara and Hayley team up in order to get to the bottom of everything.  What exactly happened to Skyler in Mexico?  Once they learn this, they do whatever it takes to save humanity from likely extinction.

Filmmakers Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman frame this in just the right way to show off the horror effect.  The film is still grounded by way of the comedy.  Yes, some of the situations are seemingly absurd.  This isn’t to say that there aren’t some delightful set pieces because what happens at the Madre Vista Police Department is absolutely bonkers.  So much of this film falls into traditional horror beats.  The camera framing while driving is absolutely stunning.  From angle, there’s nothing serious happening.  A different angle suggests a very different experience.

With two high school teens kicking ass, Snatchers offers quite the thrilling ride.

DIRECTORS:  Stephen Cedars & Benji Kleiman
SCREENWRITERS:  Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman & Scott Yacyshyn
CAST:  Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, JJ Nolan, Nick Gomez, Rich Fulcher, Austin Fryberger, Ashley Argota, Amy Landecker

Snatchers holds its world premiere during the 2019 SXSW Film Festival in the Midnighters program. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.