Review by Jude Felton
As is often the case with independent genre movies from back across the pond, Grabbers has taken its time to make its way from Ireland to the States. Now, thanks to IFC, we finally get to see this funky little creature feature, and to see whether it hopefully lives up to its promise.
Grabbers is set on the coast of Ireland and follows the local drunken police officer, Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Doyle) and Lisa Nolan, a hotshot young officer played by Ruth Bradley, who is sent in as vacation cover for the sleepy little town.
Coinciding with this is the arrival of a strange meteor-like object that seems to have left some visitors in the ocean. So when the fishermen go about their business, they bring home more than they bargained for. Without giving too much away, as it’s plastered all over the promotional blurb, the only way to save themselves from the marauding, and slimy, alien invasion involves a lot of alcohol. Something that Ciaran is all too familiar with.
If I was to sum up Grabbers in a nutshell, I would describe it as Hot Fuzz meets Shaun of the Dead meets Tremors meets The Blob. You can takes elements from all four of those films, throw them in a blender and out would come an Irish monster flick daiquiri called Grabbers. Is this a bad thing? Not really, as the execution of Grabbers is quite wonderful; the humor is spot-on, the effects are really quite good and the cast, especially the ever impressive Doyle, all deliver the goods.
Where the film did fall down, in my humble opinion, is that it is too much of a mixture of the aforementioned flicks; new hot shot cop hits a rural town (Hot Fuzz), a trip to the local pub being the goal (Shaun of the Dead), alien arrival via meteor (The Blob) and funky little critters (Tremors). However, these are all very good films, and if you are going to be influenced by other films, I could think of far worse. Due to this though, I felt myself to be a little underwhelmed at times. This was in part due to the fact that I had a good idea of what was coming next.
However, despite this, Grabbers was still damned funny and does provide a good healthy dose of riotous entertainment, that’ll tickle your funny bone. As mentioned, the effects are pretty damned cool, especially towards the latter stages, and there’s plenty of gooey creature action for you to wallow in.
Overall, I wasn’t blown away by Grabbers (maybe I expected too much?) yet I did enjoy it, quite a bit in fact. Certainly when put in context to some recent genre output, with a heavy dollop of comedy, Grabbers stands head and tentacles above many others. It’ll make you laugh out loud and does bear up to repeat viewings. Just accept the fact that is does wear its influences for all to see, and you’ll be in for a grand ride. Cheers!
Grabbers opens on VOD and at theaters on July 19th from IFC.