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Workaholic Garda officer Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) takes a 2-week
assignment on the small island of Erin while the town's sergeant is on
vacation; she immediately runs across (and afoul of) fellow Garda
Ciaran O'Shea (Richard Coyle), who both starts and ends his days with
booze, a lot of it. Your typical drunken Irish cop, in fact. They are
not destined to get along, but when bloodsucking aliens crash-land in
the nearby ocean and start devouring the townspeople, Lisa and Ciaran
have to work together to save the community. Teaming up with the
English scientist, Dr. Adam Smith (Russell Tovey), and with Paddy
Barrett (Lalor Roddy), one of the more sloshed senior citizens of the
island, they make the stunning discovery that human blood, steeped in
alcohol, is toxic to the bloodsucking creatures. A big storm is coming,
and the Coast Guard can't come to the rescue; instead, it's up to our
intrepid heroes to convince all the townsfolk that getting, and
remaining, drunk for the whole night is a matter of life and death -
One might bristle at the stereotype of the drunken Irishman (and woman), but when it's the Irish telling the stories on themselves, it's another matter altogether. This is a very funny movie, and even the bloodsucking creatures grabbing people and devouring them isn't gross, it's just kinda yucky. There were a few times when I jumped at an unexpected occurrence, which is always good in a monster movie, but there were a lot of times when I was laughing a lot too. Not to mention cheering from time to time....The leads are all terrific; I only know Tovey's work (from the excellent UK television series, "Being Human"), but I would make a point of looking out for more of Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley, both of whom I liked a lot. My one quibble is that sometimes it was hard to understand what a character was saying, especially once they were all drunk as lords and slurring their words all over the place, but that's quite minor really, as the gist of the dialogue always came through. Definitely worth seeing, especially with a FantAsia crowd in Montreal!
When one thinks of creature features, you generally associate them with
small towns situated somewhere in the American heartland: some rural
place where a handful of locals must fend off/barricade themselves
against some rampaging monstrosity. Generally, you don't usually tend
to associate 'monster on the loose' movies with Ireland
That is until
now: because that's exactly what you've got here: a monster flick that
while not actually set in Ireland, is actually located on one of its
many small islands - 'Erin Island' to be precise. Garda Ciarán O'Shea
(Richard Coyle) - Garda is what Irish police officers are called, by
the way and his colleague look after all things law related on Erin
Island. When his colleague goes on holiday, rookie Garda Lisa Nolan
(Ruth Bradley) is sent from the mainland to replace him for two weeks.
The only problem is her arrival coincides with something that has fallen to earth from space, which also contains a semi aquatic form of alien life. This strange creature then goes on the offensive and proceeds to snack on all the locals drinking their blood. It's up to the small local police contingent of O' Shea and the rookie Nolan to figure out that the creature needs rain to move on land. The only problem is, with a bad storm coming in that will completely isolate them and the locals on the island, the outlook is not good; but somehow they discover a somewhat unorthodox way of protecting them and everyone against the creature sort of. Lots of inventive high jinks and monster attacks ensue along with enough blarney and banter to make your head spin.
It is fair to say that the director and/or writer may have had one too many themselves when they dreamed up this concept. Admittedly, with a title like that, you're not going to know what you're getting yourself into. While it isn't exactly a comedy, it isn't completely a horror movie either. You get a mixture for every one-liner, there's a decapitation or messy slaughter thrown in. Tone wise, it's somewhere in between and comparable to other similar movies of this genera like Eight-Legged Freaks, Slither and Tremors. Heck, it even steals a line from the latter ("I discovered them, I get to name them") and even the name of this movie 'Grabber' is a direct reference/lift of the term 'Grabboids' in the movie Tremors.
The game cast are uniformly good and put in a lot of effort. Everyone gets a fair share of mostly funny one-liners. There's lots of eccentricity going on: the weary bar man and his interfering, nosy wife, a guy who keeps a monster in his bathtub and a babbling, eccentric British scientist, who's not as smooth as he thinks. It shouldn't all work, but, damn, somehow it does. The misty island locales play a vital part in adding a suitably unique atmosphere to the entire mix.
The creature effects a combination of CGI and practical are very effective and well done. The monster appears to be some sort of squid and possesses numerous tentacles (the 'grabbers' of the title). There are several stand out scenes with the creature; one an attack on a car is extremely effective. For a movie that was made on a comparably low budget, it has a slick look to it and seems quite expensive. Had this been made in the America, it's fair to say it probably would have probably cost five or six times as much.
This movie wears all its inspirations like a heart on its sleeve. If you look closely, you will see many homages: Jaws, Alien, Aliens ("Get away from him, you c**t!"), and the aforementioned Tremors why stop there: even the score bears a resemblance to Jerry Goldsmith's score for Alien. Even the overall concept: a group of people trapped on an island during a bad storm while creatures run amok outside reminds you of a certain movie with dinosaurs. Now all you have to do it add in all the blarney and alcohol to the mix and you have something unique. And Irish.
Yes, admittedly, there is a lot of alcohol in this movie and it does play a major part in the overall story, which may not sit well on the shoulders of people who are offended by the 'drunken Irish' stereotype. Hell, even the lead actor is playing an alcoholic. However, a word to the wise: the fact is, they're on an island with little else to do, so it's no different to setting the movie in the American South in moonshine country: you kind of expect this sort of behavior. Besides, how can you hate a movie in which the heroine tries to be heroic while at the same time clumsily and tipsily lumbering through a potentially deadly situation?
Overall, this is a very good and effective movie. It's smart and there's a lot of laughs and wit thrown in. It's well shot and directed, and is entertaining enough to keep your attention right to the very end. It has a pacey and swift running time so there's no danger of it outstaying its welcome either. This is a movie for everyone especially those who like horror and comedy or a mixture of both - and will play across cultural divides. If you liked any of the aforementioned movies, you will like this.
You have to love a movie that plays with stereotypes and uses them for
the plot. Of course you could call this twist in the plot convenient,
but that would take the fun out of it. Plus it does really feel genuine
in the movie. Even the romantic aspect of it does work (which is even
crazier than the story of the movie itself).
The movie is called Grabbers for a reason. And the reason will be revealed pretty early on. Of course the twist that I mention will take some time until it is discovered by the characters, but most people who watched it did realize it much earlier (could be that it was in the description of the movie, since I haven't read it, I couldn't tell you though). A really fun light little comedy, that is worth your time
This whimsical tale of alien creatures attacking the inhabitants of a
small Irish village hits the bulls eye in providing laughs and scares
in generous quantities. Grabbers is a prime example that with a witty
script, taught direction and excellent ensemble playing, you don't need
a huge budget to deliver a first rate comedy-horror picture. Grabbers
has the same comedy-horror tone of Gremilns, to name just one example,
combined with the atmosphere of Local Hero.
Grabbers could well end up on the midnight cult movie circuit whilst Richard Coyle, its male lead, is destined for bigger things. A thoroughly enjoyable movie which is heartily recommended.
Aliens invade an Island in um...Ireland, the only way to survive is get
drunk...book me a flight!!!
I had slightly low expectations, hopefully mildly amused at best, but how wrong was I.
Utterly engaging characters, dry,witty dialogue, a real fun B-Movie horror flick so reminiscent of such 'classics' as Tremors and Deep Rising, with even a knowing nod to the drunken exploits of Gremlins towards the end.The special effects are on the cheap side but this is a tiny criticism.
Great Balti & a Beer Saturday night (or any night) entertainment.
There's nothing like some good old-fashioned monster movie mayhem! That's also what director Jon Wright must have thought when he read the script for this totally unpretentious but enormously amusing and respectably made mixture between comedy and horror. "Grabbers" isn't just reminiscent to the 1990 crowd-pleaser "Tremors"; it's actually the best monster flick since! "Tremors" was, and still is, so popular because of its fast-paced action sequences, terrific special effects and the swell dialogs & marvelous chemistry between the lead actors. "Grabbers" exactly features all these trumps as well, more or less in the same portions even, and yet it never once feels like a lame imitation or an uninspired knock-off. The uniqueness of "Grabbers" lies within the fact that it's a largely Irish production. The screenplay shamelessly exploits all the typical clichés and stereotypes that are irreversibly linked to the Irish people and their culture, but the self-parody works amazingly efficient. When a fiery meteor crash-lands into the sea, the live extraterrestrial content washes ashore and promptly feasts on a colony of grey whales. Somewhat later, when the town's missing person cases alarmingly increase, the drunkard deputy and the geeky new female "garda" discover the mother alien's hideout on the beach. Together with a local scientist, they also discover the fierce creatures survive on blood and are therefore allergic to high doses of alcohol in the blood. So what's a bunch of poor, defenseless and thirsty Irish folks to do ? The easy and light-headed ambiance of "Grabbers" sucks you in from the very beginning and there are many more ingenious elements to make this an enjoyable viewing experience. Richard Coyle (from the BBC hit-series "Coupling") and the 15 years younger native Irish actress Ruth Bradley play extremely well together and even the completely implausible slowly unfolding romance doesn't annoy too much. There's also a large variety of awesome supportive characters, like a mumbling fisherman and a couple of crazed tavern owners. The monster's design and special effects are very adequate. Okay, it's computer engineered, but not exaggerated. The mother alien actually looks somewhat like the mythical Kraken, with a truckload of tentacles and hundreds of razor sharp teeth at the center. Many of the situations are laugh-out-loud funny, but the important ones are also tense and exhilarating. Great entertainment, highly recommended.
I will rate this higher than average because, well, it was a decent
film. It brought everything we know an love in a monster film, but it
didn't botch it up.
The plot is also pretty funny, without being completely ridiculous: a space alien that looks a lot like a mouth with many tentacles decides to make our sea its home, unfortunately for some of the local fauna and fishermen. Also, it drops near the shore of Ireland, unfortunately for the alcohol allergic blood sucking monster. Some people soon learn of the man eating monster and hatch out a plan: get p!ss drunk and fight the alien. Many funny moments follow.
The movie is alright, with a tasteful mix of standard monster movie recipe and cultural stereotyped comedy. Some of the people in the cast are known actors: Richard Coyle (Prince of Persia), Russell Tovey (Being Human), Ruth Bradley (Primeval). I liked it.
I watched this movie expecting it to be a comedy. It is, but to a
lesser extent than I was led to believe. Don't get me wrong, it has its
share of humor, but if you take out the comedic elements, the film
really stands up as a good low budget creature feature. Pleasantly
A simple script, no Oscar winning performances or intense dialog, but no over baked hams here either - except maybe in one or two spots where it's done intentionally for humor. The male and female leads were exceptional and they played their roles just right. They were endearing. The assortment of characters making up the island folk were spot on and I wanted to pop on down to the pub and buy them a round or two.
Although Grabbers borrows elements from a number of classic films in the genre, it never seems tired or cliché. I think that's due to it's understated nature and the originality it does have. Anything familiar is presented with respect and with it's own style.
A big nod to the writer and director on this one. Getting the balance this finely turned between comedy and horror isn't easy. American Werewolf in London had that, but not many others. I don't quite think this compares with that classic, but it's got that certain 'something' that will grab you.
Low budget is where you'll find the gems in this genre and Grabbers is top notch. A perfectly balanced, thoroughly enjoyable movie. If you like the genre, don't miss it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I loved this movie! What a great surprise at Sundance. I didn't expect this to be in my top ten movies at the festival, and it made the top three. This is a funny horror movie that brings out the kid in me. There are a lot of laughs and then there are some laugh out loud parts. There are some hints of tremors in the dialogue and the wacky characters (as well as the plot of course), so if you liked that movie, you'll like this one. You know it's a good movie when some of the minor supporting characters have some of the best one liners. Of course, the male and female lead were excellent and created a strong base for the rest of the cast to do their thing. All in all the director did a superb job with this...the script is tight, it's well acted and flows smoothly from scene to scene. And hell, who doesn't love looking at the Irish countryside?
Being Irish myself I'm obviously biased and Irish horror doesn't happen that often. However Grabbers was great fun and managed to not only encompass Irish character and humour in it, it also pulled it off with a good cast and surprisingly good CGI. Based on a remote Island that suffers a minor invasion from something strange the shenanigans of the locals are compounded by the fact that alcohol and being drunk seems to be a good first line of defense. Some real laugh out loud moments nice Irish scenery and a decent cast including some recogniseable faces. A nice light hearted horror/comedy gem. Also good to see a comedy movie that doesn't include the overkill toilet humour involved in so many American made films. Disclaimer: Although there may have been toilets in this movie somewhere.
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