GREMLINS


1984

CANDLES 8

DIRECTOR: Joe Dante

Is this a horror film? Well, sort of. Is this aimed at kids or adult? Well, both I suppose. The film is rated 15 by the BBFC back in 1984 when Gremlins first burst on to our cinema screens and rose like cream to the top of the comedy horror genre. The rating system was to change soon after as this and Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom had created such controversy over the family nature and darker elements being summed up with such extreme ratings. PG was too soft, whilst R too strong? Welcome PG-13, well in the U.S. anyway.

Everyone’s seen it and every kid MUST see it. The scares are innocent but effective with enough tongue in cheek for us take it as seriously as they do.

It doesn’t mock itself or the genre but flatters it with its cine-literacy and a grand sense of stylist black comedy. Joe Dante’s direction is witty and this another Chris Columbus screenplay, the next great one being The Goonies the following year, before he would go on to direct the first two Harry Potter films.

I was never happy with Columbus’s directorial projects, such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson And The Lightening Thief, not much in it some would say, with the exception of Home Alone, but the mid 80’s was his heyday as a screenwriter, with Gremlins and The Goonies proving their worth.

This is a pleasure to watch and with the correct balance of serious film making, savvy writing and a real sense of what the audience wanted, this has gone on to become one of the great 80’s hits, commercially and critically.

N.B. This review was originally posted on 31st March 2011.

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