Review: Grabbers (2012, IFC Midnight)

“TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT.”

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Category: Horror-Comedy, Monster Movie
Directed by:
Jon Wright

Written by: Kevin Lehane
Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy
Music: Christian Henson
Cinematography: Trevor Forrest

Grabbers presents a monster invasion scenario I can totally get down with. A small town on the coast of an Irish island comes under attack by tentacled, blood sucking space creatures with an aversion to alcohol. Led by an odd couple pair of local cops, laid back alcoholic Ciarán O’Shea (Coyle) and peppy workoholic Lisa Nolan (Bradley), the town must get as drunk as possible yet still manage to keep their wits about them the survive the extraterrestrial attack. Needless to say, hilarity ensues. The U.K. really does take the cake when it comes to horror/sci-fi-comedies and this is no exception. I mean it shouldn’t be too hard to make a funny movie about a bunch of drunk Irish folk fighting aliens, but with the addition of a tight script, superb acting, beautiful camera work and great looking special effects (that’s right I’m not hating on the CGI here), Wright & Co. really pull together an excellent film.

Every character really shines in the movie, aided by Lehane’s smooth script, each performance comes off really natural and the witty, sarcastic banter flows well. Some of the shit these people said cracked me up, in one part a drunken local stumbles towards one of the grabbers, camera in hand; “I need a picture with it for National Geographic. And Facebook”.  Our two main protagonists have more dimension than you’re typical reluctant buddy cop archetypes, they’re both well balanced and likeable characters who don’t butt heads over every little thing like you see in a lot of those type of movies. Bradley’s drunk person performance is also noteworthy, it’s very believable. I thought she might’ve actually gotten hammered for those scenes. I guess Wright took Coyle and Bradley out drinking before the shoot and filmed them so Bradley took note of her drunken quirks and incorporated those into her performance.  Tovey as the more refined, snide yet still perfectly likeable Dr. Smith was a nice contrast to the O’Shea’s character  and of course Roddy as the town drunk was perfect, we all know a guy like Paddy. Once the shit hits the fan and the alpha male grabber goes on the attack it’s pretty hilarious watching a bunch of drunken of buffoons try to complete simple tasks, such as one scene where Smith tries to light a homemade flame thrower after a few swigs of moonshine.

This film was beautifully shot, cinematographer Trevor Forrest perfectly captured the sublime beauty of the Irish coast with nice, smooth transitions between scenes. As for the effects, the CGI looked incredibly realistic. I really like practical effects like make-up and guys in suits but for a sci-fi flick like this with all kinds of critters big and small, it would be damn near impossible to pull it off without computer effects. While lacking in gore, a few plaster cast heads do get tossed around here and there. The music is very well done, the orchestral score flows from traditional Irish compositions to a low, ominous crawl flawlessly; perfectly accenting the mood without every really drawing your attention away from the going ons in the film, which is what any good score should accomplish.

Grabbers was definitely one of the better horror-comedies I’ve scene as of late. It was perfectly paced with a comfortable balance between humor and tension. Each and every character is likeable and believable, as well as very drunk. Some horror fans think it would be exciting to experience a zombie scenario, there’s even an event in England that does just that, but the plot here would be my personal choice for an end-of-the-world scenario. If someone invests in a live-action game of Grabbers you can sign me up. Anyways, I highly recommend checking this film out if you’d like a good laugh paired with a fun monster movie.

8/10

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