A small island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by blood sucking monsters, and the heroes discover that their only vulnerability is… alcohol.
Grabbers could well be the first monster movie set in Ireland – certainly no others come to mind – and it takes advantage of certain clichés about the Irish people and the climate.
Richard Coyle plays Garda Ciaran O’Shea, a man who drowns his sorrows on an almost nightly basis. Coyle allows O’Shea to come off as drunken and useless at first, but then the action kicks in, O’Shea is revealed as a resourceful and rather charming hero. Ruth Bradley – best known for her work on Love/Hate – plays the straight laced cop Lisa Nolan who is married to her job. During the course of the film O’Shea and Nolan swap roles, with Nolan embracing the demon drink and O’Shea sobering up for the first time in years. Bradley creates a sweet and endearing character and bounces off Coyle incredibly well. Their story arc is believable, even if it does happen a little too quickly in terms of the films’ timeline.
Russell Tovey – yes, him from Being Human – makes an appearance as a marine expert who gets to the bottom of the mystery of the Grabbers. Tovey is sweet and warm, and does not squeal as much as he does on TV. All good then. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Bronagh Gallagher and David Pearse, who are entertaining, even if their characters are given minimal screen time. In fact, the story is mostly about the romance between Gards and their struggle against the monster, which is not a bad thing, it just means that some characters feel a little underdeveloped.
The story, according the rumour and the Internet, came about when writer Kevin Lehane was bitten by mosquitoes and wondered whether they got drunk from the alcohol in a person’s blood stream. As such, the story is simple; get hammered and the ball of tentacles won’t want to eat you, but it leads to some funny results. The characters get stinking drunk and their senses are impaired, which means that they are in as much danger as they are sober. There are some great one-liners and, even though the film may seem to operate on cliché and some borrowed ideas from Shaun of the Dead, it works well. There is plenty of humour, scary monsters and a love story that develops the characters just a little bit further.
Lehane has created a script full of fool mouthed characters that Irish audiences will enjoy, and Wright’s direction is fast paced while making use of the beautiful Irish countryside. In all, Grabbers is a whole heap of silly fun and hopefully will herald the start of a new Irish film making style; the monster movie.