Strange tentacled monsters threaten the inhabitants of a quiet and peaceful fictional fishing village in County Donegal (Ireland) named Erin Island. Ciaran (Richard Coyle), a local alcoholic guard, and Lisa, a pretty and brave cop from Dublin who has arrived to the island as the holiday replacement for his seargeant, are called to save the day.
Grabbers is one of a very small number of Irish science fiction features. Its setting is picturesque and there is a sufficient number of uilleann pipes in the soundtrack to cash in on that sweet traditional Irishness that audiences all over the world love so well. These are mixed into an atmosphere of camp that pays tribute to the cheesy creature-features of Roger Corman (who incidentally owned a studio in rural Ireland for a short period of time). The mixture is most evident in its twist, which comes at around the film’s half-way mark: the creatures, who live on water and blood, are allergic to alcohol, and in order to save the inhabitants of the island, Ciaran comes up with the solution of hosting a lock-in where everyone drinks copious amounts of booze (including that legendary poitin) and gets completely hammered.
At this point, it’s only fair to point out that Grabbers is a horror-comedy and as such it is actually funnier than most other films of the kind and the CGI far more spectacular than its tiny budget would have you believe. In fact, director Jon Wright presents an enjoyable balance of laughs and creeps. However, it’s hard to overlook the heavy-handed use of stereotypes that gets tiring pretty quickly – as the endless succession of cheesy Irish one-liners in the end stand to show (“slainte,” “shut your hole,” “leg it,” and so on), probably as a mawkish tribute to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead flicks. – ★★★
GRABBERS || 2012, Ireland / UK || Comedy || Directed by – Jon Wright / Produced by – Tracy Brimm, Kate Myers, Martina Niland / Written by – Kevin Lehane / Music by – Christian Henson / Cinematography – Trevor Forrest / Edited by – Matt Platts-Mills / Starring – Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey / Running time: 94 mins.