2012 Sundance Film Review: Grabbers
With a title like Grabbers (2012), one should not expect extremely compelling drama. Yet, this film could not care less since it strives to be something else: a crowd
-pleasing horror-comedy in the vein of Tremors. The filmmakers have stated it borrows a lot from the 1990 creature movie, and succeeds for the most part in giving the audience what it wants – a rather fun diversion. Grabbers is an amusing horror-comedy that should delight fans of the subgenre or comedy fans in general, as it generally favors eccentric humor over a semi-serious tone (though it certainly has its share of fun-filled monster-movie tension).
Indeed, when the town folk discover the monsters, proclaimed to be “grabbers,” will not eat them if they are drunk, you know the movie does not take itself too seriously; so neither should the audience. Instead of a desolate desert location, this creature flick takes place on an island off the coast of Ireland (seriously, the plot involves Irish people believing they need to drink to survive; laughing is encouraged!). After several mysterious deaths and cattle disappearances, local police officer Ciaran O’Shea and city-cop import Lisa Nolan take charge gathering the townies to hunker down in the local bar and try to fight off the extraterrestrial monsters.
The British cast does a fine job at making the characters entertaining. Richard Coyle effectively portrays the oft-drunken but largely upstanding officer O’Shea. Ruth Bradley is notable as the female lead city-cop Lisa Nolan. Russell Tovey has a humorous part as the local scientist Dr. Adam Smith. Bronagh Gallagher shows up in a small role as Una Maher.
The movie may not have very deep characters but they are wacky and entertaining (Perhaps the best moment of the movie involves a super-soaker and a drunken townie).
One issue most viewers may notice is that the film lacks on the monster/sci-fi end of the bargain. It delivers on the humor, but the tentacle monsters are somewhat underwhelming, in both menace and appearance. Director Jon Wright opts to reveal them earlier rather than later, which diminishes the imagination of the viewer. Nonetheless, the grabbers are adequately daunting if not scary, though the film’s primary goal is to make the audience laugh rather than become terrified, though viewers may occasionally jump.
Grabbers is a throwback creature flick to the 80s, through and through. As such, audiences should not expect too much from it other than an amusing, enjoyable ride stuffed with Brit and slapstick humor. Some of my fellow classmates hoped it would be similar to another Sundance midnight delight like 2011’s cult hit Trollhunter, but it plays out more like Shaun of the Dead (certainly not as funny or original) with a far from serious tone and instead vies for outlandish comedy (though not on a Tucker and Dale vs. Evil level). It is shamelessly a B-movie but a very fun experience at that. It could easily be seen as an above average SyFy channel movie. Indeed, those who have seen it are likely to consider it a guilty pleasure. Check it out as a matinee if you ever get a chance to see it in theaters, or else add it to your VOD queue or rent it.
Grabbers – 7/10