Grabbers, when I first saw the title of this film, I did not think it would be any good. I expected a cheesy horror film with bad prosthetics and shaky sets. I hold my hand up and say, “I was wrong”. This 2012 monster film was directed by Jon Wright and written by Kevin Lehane. On it’s release it was rated 15, it’s got a runtime of 94 minutes and stars Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, and Russell Tovey, amongst a cast of permanently Irish actors.
When Garda Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle) and Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) discover a mutilated whale corpse on their remote Irish island, they realise something is not right. To add to it locals are being attacked and are going missing. Its soon discovered that blood sucking tentacled aliens are stalking the island, to make referring to them easy they have affectionately been dubbed “Grabbers”. Local drunkard Paddy (Lalor Roddy) seems to be the only person to have survived an attack so local marine ecologist, Dr Smith (Russell Tovey) theorizes that it must be due to a high alcoholic blood content. While attacks have only been near bodies of water, it seems any water will do as more attacks happen inland too. It’s up to O’Shea and Nolan to save the townsfolk from the evil alien menace tormenting the island.
I enjoyed this film; it was a refreshing change to a lot of the typical monster films doing the circuit in 2012. I’ve rewatched it recently for the purpose of writing this review and it still holds up well and it enjoyable. This is due to a good script with some good dialogue and some really earth humour. The actors cast in the roles give lovely performances and help to bring everything to life. While it is a monster/ action film, this also brings some horror and tension, some dark tongue-in-cheek humour, and some heart-warming romance too. I enjoyed watching the two main leads in this, Coyle and Bradley seem to bounce off each, and the strength of the on-screen relationship grows significantly towards the end of the film.
There is some gorgeous cinematography (Trevor Forrest) in this film. Set in a remote location there must be a look and a feel to the film, and I think it does well in capturing the aesthetics well. There is a definite air of Irish and British humour in the film and while it woks for me as Brit, I am not sure if it would carry across the Atlantic and be as enjoyable as I found it – some things just don’t travel well (their loss). The special effects in the move was good, combining some live action effects with a smidgen of CGI too – all done in good taste though. For a movie that was made on a relatively small budget, it manages to bring the monster to life with a fine level of authenticity that kept me amused and engaged.
This monster film pays homage to monster films before it like “Tremors” (1990), “Jaws” (1975), “Aliens” (1986) and many a 1950’s creature feature movie too. I also felt that at times the film like some of the later Hammer House films of the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, particularly the Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee classic “Night of the Big Heat” (1967) which also took place on a remote Irish island too. I found great humour an reading how the story came about; writer Kevin Lehane was backpacking around the World and being bit by mosquitos. He heard that eating marmite would stop mosquitos attacking him due to the vitamin a and b content. He then began wondering if mosquitos would get drunk if they drank the blood of drunk people – and that idea stayed with him until he wrote this film with the premise of getting drunk to survive.
I really enjoyed this film. It carries a 15 rating because of the moderate violence & gore, and because of the severe use of profanities and alcohol use. That age rating is probably right, but for everyone else this is a genuinely fun monster film with a heart that has action, adventure, a bit of horror, a twist of romance, and a dash of comedy too.