A sort of cross between Father Ted and Tremors; this tongue in cheek creature feature is heavy on the humour and light on the horror. When an extra terrestrial object crashes into the sea, the community of Erin Island (off the coast of Ireland) is attacked by tentacled blood suckers. It’s up to the team of veteran, hard drinking Garda Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle) and his rookie partner Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) to solve the mystery – assuming their differences can be put to the side long enough. Aiding them is English scientist Dr. Adam Smith (Russell Tovey).
The film’s delightfully ‘B’ movie title is reference to the name given to the alien beings by the terminally alcoholic fisherman Paddy Barratt (Lador Roddy) who captures one and keeps it in his bath. That is, until it busts out through the cottage wall…
National stereotypes are used to a shameless degree. Nearly all Irish characters are laid back, got the gift of the gab and like a good drink; whilst the English character is upper class and eccentric. Most of the jokes (and a lot of the plot) revolve around voluminous alcohol consumption. This could have got tired very quickly if the performances from Coyle, Brady and Roddy weren’t so endearing. Chalk and Cheese partnerships are a staple of film and television plots to the point of nausea. However there’s real chemistry and romantic tension between Coyle as O’Shea and Brady as Nolan. Supporting cast members also put in good turns. Russell Tovey (who’s done a lot of T.V. work in the U.K.) is the weak link; his portrayal of Dr. Smith comes across as amateurish compared to his fellow actors. He’s not plausible as the rival to O’Shea for Nolan’s affections.
The creature effects are a joy to behold thanks to Shaune Harrison who supervised them. He’s a veteran of prosthetics and special makeup effects, having worked on huge releases like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2. A lot of care and attention to detail went into making the Grabbers as believable as possible. The sight of a brood of baby aliens exploring the pub bar is just fantastic and beats the lazy C.G.I that’s too often employed in movies these days. Unfortunately the big storm that cuts links betweeen Erin Island and the mainland plu increases ‘Grabber activity’ (they like the wet) is badly mishandled. No stock footage of actual storms is used, instead water sprinklers are relied on and the result isn’t remotely credible.
Production values are high and direction tight enough to satisfy multiplex audiences and if given a wider release, and considering the popularity of titles like Hot Fuzz, Grabbers would do very well at the box office. Horror lovers will be disappointed (as was I) that there’re no decent scares to be had, Grabber kills are predictable and pretty gore free. The humour is all light hearted and superficial, which is fine but there are no belly laughs or ‘what the hell’ moments as in classic horror comedies like Braindead. However, overall Grabbers is a fun way to spend an hour and a half of your life even if it’s a bit one dimensional.
Director: Jon Wright
Cast: Ciaran O’Shea, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lador Roddy, Pascal Scott
Runtime: 94 mins
Country: Republic of Ireland