If Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) ever wrote a horror film, it would be exactly like Grabbers. Almost like an Irish Shaun of the Dead mixed in with an invading monster of the Roger Corman tradition, Jon Wright’s second film is wonderfully silly and is very aware of it. For people who are sick to the back to teeth of terribly written and executed alien invader movies with massive budgets (Michael Bay, we’re looking in your direction) then Grabbers will go down very well as a witty and gory antidote. When the inevitable moments of bad taste do crop up, they’re delivered with such a cheery Irish smile that it’s almost impossible to resist. In many ways it’s filling in the gaps where Lake Placid failed to deliver.
The problem with many comedy-horror films is that they know how to bring the funny, but they don’t have the energy to deliver any decent scares. Here though, Jon Wright manages to keep everything on an even keel through what seems like very simple delegation. He saves the more humorous moments for the characters, while the alien invaders (aptly named grabbers) are able to do what they do best. And that usually involves swiping people away with big long greasy tentacles and drinking their blood. Hence their name. And the grabbers certainly don’t care about cinema conventions as they merrily spring up without any warning, claiming the lives of characters you were convinced were going to make it to the end. Think Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea, only a few times over just to keep you on your toes.
So what exactly are the aforementioned grabbers? They’re aliens made up almost entirely of tentacles and teeth. They arrive on the back of a meteor which smashes into a small island off the coast of Ireland. The grabbers then start picking off the laid back inhabitants and drink their blood. Only these grabbers have one Achilles’ heel; they can’t drink blood that contains a high alcohol level. It’s almost impossible to even type this without grinning. In falls to permanently drunk Garda police officer Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle) and the attractive, uptight new recruit from Dublin Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) to try and find a way to stop the feckin’ aliens. You might be able to see where this is going now. What’s their big plan? That’s right; head to the pub for a massive lock-in.
It’s every bit as barmy as It sounds, but that’s what makes it such a joy to watch. There’s nothing entirely original about it; the grabbers themselves have a very basic design. But then that’s not really the point. It’s a victory for style over substance (again, Michael Bay we’re looking right at you). There are of course special effects, but these are used sparingly and only when it’s really necessary. It’s the boozy Irish charm that makes this linger long in the memory as a fun, Friday night monster movie experience that’s almost impossible to resist. Because of the limited budget it only has a limited release, but if you can then it’s definitely worth grabbing.
Image reproduced from bloody-disgusting.com
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About the Author: Eric Wood is 21 years old, from Bury in Greater Manchester, and a graduate of Salford University where he studied Journalism and English Literature. His first novel comes out later in the year, and he begins work directing his first feature length movie in the summer. Eric absolutely adores all forms of writing and loves movies so he’s the ideal film critic. His greatest inspiration for many years has been Michael Crichton, as Crichton has written novels, non-fiction, screenplays, and directed movies. Eric would love to be able to achieve all of those things in my lifetime.