Grabbers (2012)

Rating: B

Dir: Jon Wright
Star: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy

The math here is probably something like: 50% Tremors + 20% Hot Fuzz + 10% Father Ted + 5% The Mist + 5% Gremlins + 10% genuine originality. That said, as a fan of all those sources, this was still remarkably enjoyable: likely not quite to the same level, yet I was smiling almost the entire time. It takes place on an island off the Irish coast, where something crashes into the sea from outer space, releasing multiple many-tentacled creatures, with a taste for blood, that head to shore. There, local cop CiarĂ¡n O’Shea (Coyle), a man who drinks to forget, or drinks to remember – or, perhaps, just drinks – has been joined by city copy Lisa Nolan (Bradley), on temporary secondment which the island chief is on holiday. As islanders start to disappear, and with the place cut off by a brewing storm, they discover the creatures are allergic to alcohol. So there’s only one thing for good Irishmen and women to do: organize a lock-in at the local, and get shit-faced drunk, purely as a means of protection, of course.

Pretty much all the leads are well-known faces from Brit-TV: Coupling, Primeval and Being Human respectively, which lends an easy familiarity to proceedings, thought it’s odd hearing Jeff from the first with a heavy Irish accent. The trio have a likeable, easy chemistry that’s never a chore to watch, even if you’re simply watching Lisa basically stagger around tipsily. The other thing that really works are the monsters, which are both imaginative, looking genuinely alien in every regard, and remarkably well-realized [are you watching, Dragonwasps?] for a low-budget flick like this (supposedly only about $4 million) – another plus, you get to see a lot of them, with deservedly little effort made to hide them. Have to say, it is pretty stereotypical, portraying the locals as little more than drunkards who say “Feck!” a lot, but it’s all in gentle fun. Cool creatures and characters that you can genuinely care about make for a winning combination, and help overcome the undeniable lack of originality here.