The Lowdown – When an island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by bloodsucking aliens, the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive.
“I can’t feel my face!” – Dr. Adam Smith
Directed by Jon Wright
8 out of 10
Jon Wright (Tormented) directs this very funny, unique and quirky sci – fi / comedy movie filmed in Northern Ireland that takes place on an island off of the coast. It is a “Blend” movie. A blend of genres that actually works and succeeds in painting a very real but humorous picture of a small coastal village coming together to face an alien threat.
The movie was screened at the Toronto After Dark Festival and was an immediate hit and well received and rightly so. I could see very clearly how Wright’s film can be a crowd pleaser and the blend of genres is actually it’s strongest asset. If I had to compare it to a film of the same ilk it would be hands down “Tremors” Yep. An “Irish” Tremors except with ugly, octopus – like, squirmy, ugly creatures with huge teeth and a ton of tentacles.
The film opens with the crew of a fishing boat off the coast witnessing a bright and ominous meteorite crash into the nearby waters and upon investigating they are attacked by “Grabbers” Named thus by the local town drunk who catches one in his traps and won’t let the local scientist call it anything else. Ruth Bradley (BBC’s Primeval) plays the newly transferred Garda Lisa Nolan who has no idea that soon enough she will spend the next couple of days dealing with inibriated locals, pissed off citizens, a new partner named O’Shea (Richard Coyle from “Coupling”) who is an incessant drunk.
Also, he’s not very friendly at first and foremost she has to deal with some huge aquatic beasties that are breeding more “Grabbers.” While O’Shea shows her around Wright puts us right into the lives of the very colorful locals. Slowly but surely they do begin to bond as Lisa tries to take a sisterly stance with O’Shea and helps him kick his drinking habit. And boy does he drink. Rounding off the “Trio de Grabbers” is the hilarious and scene stealing Russell Tovey (Being Human) as Dr Smith.
Hilarity and scares ensue both with incredible abandon as the Grabbers start to venture out among the village and attack fishermen and locals alike. The squiddy looking beasties are very well rendered with cgi and practical effects that are done very low key and with restraint. It is scary looking and attacks everyone in it’s way. Even the little Grabbers are everywhere and attacking people brutally. Dr Smith eventually discovers that the alien creatures are allergic to… guess what? Yep. Alcohol. This is hands down the best plot device I’ve ever seen!
As the Grabbers attack, everyone including Lisa but not O’Shea gets shitfaced drunk in order to avoid getting attacked and eaten all while trying to destroy the monster. The last act of the film is just insane and you’ll find yourself laughing and getting scared at the same time. This film works great as an ensemble piece too. Everyone from the Pub owner, his wife, the local drunk, Doc Smith and the patrons join in the madness.
Grabbers is nostalgic and tips it’s hat to just about every great monster flick from Jaws to Alien. It’s fierce and beautifully shot. The monster itself, discovered to be hiding out in a sea cave is ugly and aggressive. It never gets bogged down, has great pace and Wright stages some great monster / human action. The actors have the best timing too since the film is full of fast and strong Irish accented dialog.
I was very impressed by “Grabbers” a very refreshing and smart creature feature that gets you involved not only with the monsters but with the all too real humans that find out getting shitfaced (Or “Pissed” as a 89 year old Pub patron calls herself) can actually save your life! “Grabbers” is a Feckin’ good time!