Movie Review: Grabbers / Cert: 15 / Director: Jon Wright / Screenplay: Kevin Lehane / Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy / Release Date: TBC, Screening at Grimmfest, Manchester October 5th
From the opening attack on a fishing boat out in the Irish Sea to the siege during a lock in at the village pub, this sci-fi/horror/comedy's pace never lets up. The Irish have long held the stereotype of being drunken fecks. In Grabbers, this may well be their salvation.
Local boozy Garda (copper to you and I) Ciarán O'Shea (Coyle, Moffat's Coupling) is less than impressed when a pretty young and enthusiastic Garda, Lisa (Bradley) arrives to stand in for the chief. She is not the only visitor to the isles, however as a tentacled alien and it's offspring begin to pick off the local whales and fishermen. Enthusiastic English scientist Adam Smith (Tovey) is keen to learn more about them when Paddy (Lalor Roddy) brings a small specimen to him which attacked him. Smith finds out that all the creature needs to exist is water and blood, and deduce by the fact perma-drunk Paddy has survived the attack that the alien can't imbibe alcohol. The only logical thing to save the village during the oncoming rainstorm is to get them all steaming drunk.
Grabbers is a fantastic film. Almost non-stop laugh out loud funny, scary and tense when it needs to be, with special effects that would not look out of place in a film with ten times the budget. The leads, Coyle and Bradley, are a likeable pair, as are the rest of the cast, who are all more than just alien food, and Tovey is always a welcome sight. There are plenty of moments that bring to mind other films; the 'Erin Island Welcomes You' sign is reminiscent of the one greeting those in Amity, and the mix of monsters and fun is on par with (if not better than) Tremors, but at no time does the film resort to parody nor slapstick, the humour instead coming from the Irish whimsy (Paddy asks, after finding what he calls a grabber “Can I put it on the Ebay?”) and the natural banter between the characters. While Attack the Block alienated (sorry) some audiences with its unsympathetic youth 'heroes', Grabbers is populated by average Joes and affable drunks. What could easily have been a B-movie homage is elevated to something greater thanks to the brilliant cinematography by Trevor Forrest, who had previously worked with director Jon Wright on Tormented (2009), which makes the most out of the stunning Irish scenery and a complementary score by Christian Henson (Storage 24).
A cult film if ever there was one, but deserves Shaun of the Dead type success. Catch Grabbers at Grimmfest in Manchester on Friday 5th October.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10