Devilishly dark humour and mischief romp about unchecked in the bizarre movie creation that is "Gremlins". The plot is thin and the pacing is askew, but this is a film that offers plenty of unpredictability, and a vicious streak enrobed in cornball humour.
Central to the mayhem is the deliriously cute Mogwai named "Gizmo". Bought from a curiosity shop and presented to Zach Galligan as a Christmas gift, it's every toy firm's dream of interactivity and playability. Except this is a real animal, and is issued with instructions to not get it wet and especially not to feed it after midnight.
Inevitably, it isn't long before both rules have been broken, with Gizmo spawning cute offspring that turn into hideous Gremlins. These foul creatures run amok, torturing and even killing the local residents. This is all staged with a macabre humour that is director Joe Dante at his best.
"Gremlins" has not garnered many good reviews, with most dismissing it as animatronic nonsense wrapped in crude tastelessness. But while the film has some slightly 'sick' moments, it really resembles a fairytale. And in this tradition, it presents the briefest plot and injects some cruel twists that are really quite funny.
The backdrop of a picturesque snow-covered town at Christmas offers maximum potential for villainous amusement, and the Gremlins don't miss a trick. They're obviously film buffs, and take great delight in poking fun at some of the classic fare we can expect to see on Christmas TV. Just hope that you don't find any Gizmos under the tree.