Grabbers (2012)

I’d never heard of this silly Irish ‘creature-feature’ before it was mentioned by a conveniently Irish co-worker…who grew up in the area where the flick was filmed. Beyond the initial premise that he’d described, I had no idea what to expect. So…the premise goes like this: A straight-laced, by-the-book female police officer, Lisa, is temporarily transferred to a tiny fishing village on an island off the Irish coast, to fill in for a two week stint. Once settled, she encounters a good handful of the town eccentric weirdos, including her new partner, a rather pitiful drunk named O’Shea, who just can’t really be bothered with taking his job seriously. Unbeknownst to Lisa, a glowing green meteor (how Irish!) plunged into the ocean nearby, the night before. Spotted by a fishing boat, it isn’t long before ‘something’ attacks the crew of 3, wiping them out. Shortly after, Lisa and O’Shea are called upon to deal with a bunch of maimed pilot whale corpses that have recently washed up on shore. From there, it becomes apparent to the two cops that something bizarre is happening and that the potential consequences for the villages population could be dire. As they come face-to-face with the varying stages of The Grabbers life-cycle, they stumble onto the alien beasts Achilles Heel. Being that the creature needs water and blood to survive and reproduce, it can’t handle alcohol in the victims blood stream. Booze=ALIEN POISON. It’s this little detail that veers the story from somewhat silly to flat-out absurd. Having figured that there is a huge Grabber (essentially a ball of rolling black tentacles) lurking somewhere nearby, it’s decided that the only way to save the towns people from being slurped like a juice box is to seal them into the local watering hole and make them drink their faces off, in order to render them inedible to the Vampire Alien Tentacle Beast. It’s funny to me that the film-makers opted to take one of the biggest and possibly most detrimental stereotypes about the Irish and to fully embrace it on The Big Screen as a vital plot device. But given the silly tone that peppers the story, it works. In that respect, Grabbers reminded me of the still-awesome Tremors (1990), in that horrible monsters are present and accounted for, but so is a sense of humor. As noted earlier though, this one branches squarely into the absurd, and does so gleefully. Another apt comparison would be to Shaun of the Dead (2004), violent but very chuckle-worthy. Given the budget of this flick (small), it’s handled with a rather deft touch…almost with more care than the subject matter deserves. The CG for the Grabbers is actually rather cool-looking (mostly), especially when the big one rolls after its victims like a monstrous, slime-coated tumbleweed. It’s not all great, especially a key sequence involving a shit-load of little Grabbers ‘Looney Tuning’ it up in the bar. To me, it was a clear nod to the bar scene from Gremlins (1985). Not saying it looked awful…just noticeably cartoonish, which again works in the low-budget service of the flicks silly atmosphere. The film-makers made sure to throw a couple other nice nods to some classics of the sci-fi/horror genre as well, with prominent shout-outs to Night of the Living Dead (1966) and Aliens (1986) on glorious display…“Get away from him, you cunt!”. All in all, Grabbers is one of those movies that VERY few people will EVER hear of, but those who come across it should really give it a shot. It’s a fun little genre flick and probably the only one you’ll ever see where being pissed to the gills is a prerequisite for survival. Those crazy Irish!

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