OTHER WORLDS FILM FESTIVAL: Snatchers (2020)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph Perry writes for the film websites Gruesome Magazine, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel and Diabolique Magazine; for the film magazines Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope and Drive-In Asylum; and for the pop culture websites When It Was Cool and Uphill Both Ways. He is also one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast and can occasionally be heard as a cohost on Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast.

When you’re not laughing out loud at director John Kingman’s science-fiction comedy Snatchers (2020, not to be confused with a film of the same name from 2019), you’ll at the very least be smiling. With spot-on — but generally good-natured — skewering of hipsters and gentrification, Kingman, working from a sharp screenplay by Guy Patton, delivers a fun send-up of the alien body snatcher trope.

Todecky (Blaine Kneece) is an FDA inspector who dreams of becoming an FBI agent. He pines for the Brooklyn he once knew, which is becoming increasingly gentrified, as well as the home to twenty- and thirty-somethings who do such things as run a food cart that cater exclusively to other food cart employees. There is also the time-honored pretentious struggling artist who lives off of his significant other. Brie (Brielle Cotello) once went out on an ill-fated Taxi Driver-themed date with Todecky. Now an aspiring documentary filmmaker working as a janitorial staff member, Brie must team up with Todecky as they try to get to the heart of a mystery involving purple corn with alien mutation that turns people into whatever the purple alien corn equivalent of pod people might be. 

On their wild journey, Todecky and Brie will meet such characters — in the broadest sense of the word — as flamboyant gang leader The White Duke, the lesbian couple who owns the aforementioned specialty food truck, a Mennonite farmer who saw how the alien invasion began, a man and woman who work together but are too shy to admit their mutual affection for each other, and plenty of pod — er, corn — people. 

Snatchers keeps the jokes coming at a rapid pace, and Kneece and Cotello lead an ensemble cast in which the members all nail the quirks of their eccentric characters. It’s a blast, and comes highly recommended. The setting may be Brooklyn, but the targets of the jokes could be from pretty much any city. Also, you’ll have a hard time finding more pickle-related puns in a film than this one.

Snatchers screens as part of  Other Worlds Film Festival, which runs in Austin, Texas from December 1–4, 2022. 

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