If one were to map out a sequel to Joe Dante’s 1984 classic, “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” would probably be the furthest thing imaginable but it’s precisely that audaciousness that makes the movie so memorable. After all, the yuletide atmosphere and effective mixture of family film conventions and child-friendly horror of the original are replaced here with satirical edges and self-aware humor that pokes fun at the original in a number of ways. It’s actually rather mean-spirited in some ways, and while the tone veers away from the horror elements of its predecessor, there are still a number of unsettling moments that make an impression. There’s an inventive, clever streak to the whole movie, but folks looking for more of the same will be disappointed by what they’ll find here. It’s unconventional and over-the-top from beginning to end, and the tonal shift to irreverent comedy makes the whole thing feel fresh.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)