Film review: Grabbers

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still from the film grabbers

Reviewed by Isabella Depiazzi

Edited by Crystal Abidin

Film: Grabbers
Director: Jon Wright
Running Time: 94 minutes
Year of Release: 2012
Language: English

Never a Sober Moment in Grabbers

Grabbers, showing as part of the Luna Cinema’s ‘Monster Fest’, is an enjoyable romp that provokes as many laughs as it does screams. Set on an idyllic island off the coast of Ireland, the film follows a medley of the usual horror movie characters as they attempt to escape the Grabbers, squid-like aliens that feed on blood yet are deathly allergic to alcohol.

This twist on the classic monster movie opens with Garda Nolan (Ruth Bradley) arriving on the island, fresh from Dublin and expecting a peaceful, relaxing sojourn in the countryside. With much of the island’s population decamping to the mainland to attend a festival, she and her alcoholic colleague, Garda O’Shea (Richard Coyle) are left to supervise the remaining residents, a motley crew consisting of the pompous marine biologist Dr Smith, doddering drunk Paddy, and the bickering couple that own the local pub.

When residents are found brutally murdered one morning, it doesn’t take long for Garda Nolan to link their death to Paddy’s discovery of a strange creature he baptises ‘the Grabber’. As she and Garda O’Shea attempt to discover how it was that Paddy, blessed with good nature if not good sense, managed to escape the creature when others were killed, a storm slowly rolls in to trap the residents on the island for the weekend.

After much trial and error (mostly error), it is discovered that the Grabbers thrive in water but are hypersensitive to alcohol. With the storm threatening to bring record amounts of rain, it seems like the only way of saving the island from imminent annihilation is to throw a party in the pub with free drinks for all.

While its mix of horror and comedy echoes critically acclaimed hits like Sean of the Dead, Grabbers doesn’t quite succeed in tipping the horror movie genre on its head. But with a likeable cast, surprisingly realistic special effects and dialogue that delights in clichés (“Tony! You look like death!”), Grabbers manages to be a charming and fun watch.

Screening on the 28th February 2013, Grabbers is the opening night offering for the Monster Fest, which runs until the 6th March 2013 at Luna Palace Leederville.