Grabbers (2012)

Posted: November 27, 2013 in Movie Review
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Grabbers (2012)

Director: Jon Wright

Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey

Getting drunk never solves anything, or so that’s the line we’ve always been fed. Sometimes, it’s just a means to an end, a tool to bring a social gathering together. That can result in a lot of fun. There is a dark side to drinking too much, of course, nonetheleast of which is death from alcohol poisoning. Cheerful thought, isn’t it? There are other factors, too. Drinking and driving is a criminally stupid idea. Certainly, drinking to forget your problems can be futile, considering that they’ll usually be waiting for you when you sober up. But, say that there are alien sea monsters from hell trying to break down your doors and kill you. Wouldn’t that be an incentive to get sloshed?

The residents of a remote Irish island encounter this problem when they find several dead whales washing ashore, after which people start disappearing. Garda Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle) is breaking in a new partner, Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley). O’Shea is an alcoholic, and his partner’s disapproval of his habit isn’t drawing the two any closer. The whale corpses present a problem for them to investigate, and soon the sad mess is attributed to large, tentacled monsters which the town drunk, upon inexplicably escaping, has dubbed “Grabbers.” Reasoning that it was the alcohol in his system which saved him, O’Shea convinces everyone that their only hope for survival is to get loaded.

If this sounds like an hilarious premise for a movie, well, it is. But it almost wasn’t. The first half of this movie had me a bit worried. I forgave the fact that the monster wasn’t shown outright even though we knew damn well what it was going to be. The greatest monster movies work best when you don’t see much of the terror that is backing the cast members into a corner before it moves in for the kill. However, the bland, unmemorable dialogue of those first 45 minutes wasn’t doing the picture any favors. It’s once the idea comes about that alcohol will repel and possibly kill the monsters that “Grabbers” does exactly what it set out to do: entertain. Like the movie itself, the best character in “Grabbers” …that being Lisa Nolan… gets funnier once she starts drinking. Seeing as how she’s been the uptight career-minded character up to this point, it’s not too surprising to see her become more inebriated than anyone else, given her low tolerance for alcohol. She’s a cute drunk.

It can be said that, if you’ve seen one monster movie, you’ve seen them all. There is usually only a handful of ways these stories can play themselves out. That’s why the direction that “Grabbers” takes is so refreshing. Diuretics have been used as the weakness of other monsters before, but this is the first time I can recall booze being the thing that the heroes use to fight back. The movie’s second half is so perversely amusing that I would not have been shocked to hear Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” playing inside the pub. Had the first half been as fun, I could easily bestow upon “Grabbers” the title of “instant classic.” You don’t have to be drunk to have fun with this movie, but it would be like if my parents had watched the original run of TV’s “Twin Peaks” without a cup of Joe and a slice of pie. The ritual enhances the experience, and makes you feel like a participant in the proceedings.


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