Brief Review: Grabbers (2012)

WARNING: Contains spoiler


Grabbers doesn’t stray too far from the monster flick formula created by creature features from yesteryear. Instead it embraces it wholeheartedly. Some might say that it’s lacking in originality as a result, but it feels more akin to a lovingly-crafted homage than a blatant rip-off.

Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) is temporarily assigned to a remote Irish island to assist Garda Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle). Unfortunately, within hours of her arrival, the once sleepy community is stirred by a series of violent attacks on the populace by, unbeknownst to them, a bizarre squid-like alien species.

It’s a premise that we’ve seen before in films like the cult-classic Tremors, but it’s presented so beautifully that we’re immediately drawn in. The gorgeous scenery distracts us from any dubious plot elements.

The trick with comedy horrors seems to be to play it straight. There are no forced laughs or corny jokes here. Instead the humour comes from watching the characters deadpan reactions to such a surreal situation. Credit has to go to the entire cast, Bradley and Coyle in particular, for remaining straight-faced as the plot becomes increasingly silly.

Director Jon Wright effortlessly builds up tension to levels that John Carpenter would be proud of. The alien threat feels genuinely menacing and is sold well by the cast.

The hilarious revelation that the alien’s only weakness is an aversion to alcohol, and the cast’s subsequent reaction to it is comedy gold. This sets up a third act which is essentially one giant piss-up. It does little to combat Irish stereotypes, but Grabbers is just so entertaining that you won’t even care.

Grabbers is a wonderfully daft, low budget monster movie. Granted, it borrows heavily from a number of similar films that came before, but it does so with such cheeky charm that it’s hard not to like it.

4-stars

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