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Review: Grabbers (2012)

Date Posted: 2012-10-21
Posted by:
GregMo Roberts
Source: Killer Reviews

When young female Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) relocates to a small island off the coast of Ireland, she had no idea that her following few days would be spent fighting monsters, getting drunk and fighting monsters getting drunk.   

It all begins when a strange illuminated object is seen crashing into the sea.  Soon after, strange occurrences begin to unfold.  Fishermen go missing.  Mauled whales are washed up on shore.  And a local town’s drunk captures some sort of monster in a lobster trap. 

Meanwhile, Ruth Bradley is being shown around town by local Garda, Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle from BBC’s Coupling).  Prior to the recent events, the town has been relatively a quiet and peaceful village with only the odd drunken brawl being brought to the authorities’ attention.  But as events continue to unfold, they learn that there are creatures – named Grabbers as named by the town drunk - with a craving for human blood.  Further experiments on the captured Grabber reveal that the creatures do not enjoy alcohol tainted blood.  So all the townspeople have to do is remain in a state of drunkenness until help arrives.  Being Ireland – this is easier done than said.   

Grabbers is directed by Jon Wright (Tormented) and is a pleasant mix of comedy and thrills that is a cross between Tremors if scripted from the mind of H.P. Lovecraft.  Richard Coyle as the heavy drinking Garda Ciarán brings a confidence to his role and walks the tightrope perfectly between the humor and horror elements of the production. 

Comedic moments trump science fiction elements and there are plenty of laughs to go around.  Lalor Roddy as Paddy Barrett steals most of the scenes to which he is allowed to emote, but the budding relationship between Ciarán and Lisa is the focal backdrop amongst all the chaos. 

As with most alien invasion films, things escalate in size and violence and the creature effects in Grabbers are top rate.  With a reported budget of only $4 million, we were amazed at what Wright and his effects crew were able to pull off without the large blockbuster budget of larger scaled Hollywood productions. 

There were a few elements in Grabbers that didn’t quite click on all cylinders – namely the relationship between the two leads – but that was hardly enough to pull the movie down or deflate an audience that seemed to relish in the cross genre mix. 

Grabbers opened the Toronto After Dark Film Festival this October and was the perfect film to launch an event that brings the best of horror, science fiction and cult films to the masses.  It was a crowd pleaser that can ease an audience into a week of thrills and chills much like Monster Brawl was on opening night of 2011.  It is a polished piece of work that could be easily labeled as ‘safe’ due to the non-excess of blood spilling, violence or mature situations. 

It would be difficult and unfair to label Grabbers as either a ‘Monster Movie’ or a ‘Horror Comedy’.  What it is, simply, is a good time filled with enough of everything to appeal to a mass audience.

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