Pregnancy Panic (Plus Aliens)
Sara is about to give birth to an Aztecan alien. That’s a problem, doubly so because she’s still in high school. Triply so since she only had sex the night before.
Snatchers is funny like that, breaching the teen pregnancy topic with a concerted wink. Sara (Mary Nepi) gives in to peer pressure, setting off a chain that’s ruinous for all involved. It’s wacky, hokey even, sure, but Snatchers weirdly gets it. Sara runs from her mom, hiding her overnight pregnancy. She reaches out to friends who, in their immaturity, afford her no help. At an abortion clinic, a protester accosts her at the front door. The father? He’s likely an alien, totally appropriate to capture the isolation in a surprise teen pregnancy (but he’s still ready to go with anyone willing, because hormones).
Snatchers is dumb… but also smart. An odd mix
Looking at the production team, it’s all guys. Directors, writers, producers; there’s not a single woman among them. That’s disappointing, if surprising then at how right Snatchers feels. Snatchers uses a mind-controlling bug to depict an entire town imploding because a teen made a sexual choice. It’s chaos, from blame to judgmental looks and a total lack of emotional support. Some of this pairs with the absurd spectacle of MTV reality shows exploiting teen moms, and how culture so readily criticizes rather than comforts. Snatchers is dumb… but also smart. An odd mix.
While not riotously funny, the jokes hit their marks. The gore does too. Desperate for solution and worried there’s a second alien on the way, Sara straddles a blender, hoping to induce and prevent further issues. It’s a gag, if one based in genuine fear of never letting the parents in until it’s too late. Snatchers picks social structures apart, using the absurdities for laughs, if not enough. The anti-abortion protester is wasted, for one, letting go before the potential is realized.
In general, humor stays on course. Gags rarely miss, and with an appreciated short runtime, rarely does Snatchers succumb to boredom. If anything goes awry, that’s the action. The alien bug… thing skips around, controls people, and leads to limited chaos. In that, Snatchers goes through the motions, or possibly hides a budget on the lower-end. Only in the finale do things breakout, finally stretching to extremes, allowing Sara to avoid victim-hood, get revenge, and satisfy an audience craving for splatter. Snatchers catches just enough satirical honesty to make itself work.
Undoubtedly shot digitally, the end result is fair on Blu-ray. There’s enough detail to convincingly render HD-tier definition. Close-ups bring facial texture consistently. Exteriors hold up too.
Overall though, Snatchers appears too compressed. It’s not only persistent banding issues, but a noisy, buzzy look throughout. Backgrounds show artifacts without relief, creating a perceived softness, lacking in precision.
Otherwise it’s attractive, with rich primaries, accurate flesh tones, and stable dimensionality. Black levels drop to needed levels. Contrast pokes around, stable and bright. While not spectacular, the images prove sufficient, if not much else.
While the score drives dynamic range, there’s limited audio design at work here. Given the creature’s ability to zip around rooms, surround channels sleep through Snatchers. Stereos pick up stray activity, if nothing exciting or notable.
The DTS-HD track doesn’t suffer any fidelity issues and dialog is pure. In that, it’s a winner.
Co-directors/co-writers Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman join writer Scott Yacyshyn on commentary. They continue into a 14-minute making-of, covering the production and its origins. A short blooper reel and trailers close out Snatchers.
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Taking a satirical look at teen pregnancy, Snatchers uses its platform to call out social norms and turn a potential victim into a humorous commentary.
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