‘Grabbers’ is an entertaining creature feature about a small Irish town invaded by a giant sea monster with only one weakness.
The creature feature basically has two incarnations: the haunt-you-in-your-sleep monster and the campy one that startles and tickles audiences. Which picture falls under which category is often subjective, but generally the true horror comedies are easily identified. Toronto After Dark gala opener, Grabbers, undoubtedly belongs to this designation.
Fisherman off the coast of Erin Island are disappearing without a trace and another has caught an alien creature in his lobster trap. Because the squid-like creature attacks him by wrapping itself around his head, the newly discovered species is labelled a "grabber." Learning the monsters need water to survive and are deadly allergic to alcohol, the alcohol-dependent Garda Ciarán O'Shea (Richard Coyle) and straight-laced Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) decide the only way to protect the townsfolk during the impending storm is to have a lock-in at the local pub and get everyone drunk.
In the spirit of Tremors, Slither and Gremlins, this movie has a lot of fun with its perilous situation. The characters never stop making jokes, though often a simple reaction can be funny enough. The banter between O'Shea and Nolan is entertaining, though all the characters employ Irish wit that makes for snappy comebacks and sharp remarks.
Just the initial concept of combating a threat through inebriation is so absurd it's amusing – though it beats their defenses of a chair, knife and rolled up magazine. Attempting to lure the townspeople to the pub without alarming them is ineffective - until they utter the words "free bar." Then people couldn't get through the door fast enough. It perpetuates the stereotype that the Irish like their liquor and beer, but with good cause.
The title, perhaps an homage to Ridley Scott's face-grabber, isn't very scientific but it supplies an apt description of the monsters. Though while one is keen on attaching itself to people's faces, another appears to be incapable of digesting their heads. And the babies lack any discrimination, trying to latch onto anything - though their appearances in the film are another source of amusement.
Director: Jon Wright
Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley and Russell Tovey