Sundance 2012 Review: Grabbers


Every country is entitled to their own version of some plain and simple entertaining fluff.  To me, that’s exactly what Grabbers is — Ireland’s version of some easy to swallow, smile-causing fluff.  It doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means, in fact it blatantly steals ahem, I mean pays homage to a slew of other horror movies. But hey, those were fun movies so I don’t quite mind the complete lifting nods to those other flicks.  It’s not trying to win an Oscar.  It’s just here hoping everyone has a fun ride.

Grabbers is a horror comedy dealing with some alien creatures that landed in the water and have washed ashore.  It doesn’t take long for them to start offing the townsfolk and causing all kinds of trouble.  But it’s Ireland so, stereotype or not, we have to have alcohol in the mix here somewhere, so that’s when they find out that even though these things like to suck blood, if you have too much alcohol in your system it poisons them.  This simple concept makes for a balls out second half where everyone in town just gets loaded.  The resulting party at the bar is exactly the kind of place I would want to be, regardless of the things lurking just outside the doors.  If all of this sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is.  But that’s the charm of Grabbers.  It doesn’t really give a shit.  It’s just having fun.

The creatures are fun and look a lot like mutant octopus/starfishes.  The FX work is actually top notch for a low budget flick.  And for those of you who complain that in creature movies you never get to see the creatures, well, never fear because Grabbers gives them almost equal screen time as the actors.  And speaking of the actors, you can tell they’re all just having a good time.  Filled to the brim with character actors and odd faces of every kind, the town definitely has an authentic feel to it.  It’s kind of refreshing.

Now, as far as my complaints, there are a few.  First, it’s not really scary.  It’s fun, but not scary.  It could have been scary, but they didn’t really go that route.  Whether that was a conscious decision or just the outcome, I’m not sure.  But if you’re looking for a scary flick, you’ll be a little disappointed.  And as far as lifting from other movies, it does get a bit out of hand at times.  I’m all for paying homage and nods, but when you lift an entire scene (remember Gremlins?  Well, obviously so does the writer and director) sometimes it makes you cry for them to have come up with something more original.  Tremors was OBVIOUSLY a major influence, even down to the title, Grabbers sure sounds a lot like Graboids from Tremors.  And hell, even the final line is stolen directly from Aliens.  Instead of “Get away from her, you bitch!”  Here, you get the more crass, and more Irish, “Get away from him, you cunt!”  Yep, not hiding it too much.

Anyway, quibbles aside, it’s still fun fluff.  If you want to pass 95 minutes or so with an entertaining, drunken, Irish creature flick, check out Grabbers when it comes your way.  Just don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve seen a lot of it before.


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