Grabbers (2012) ***
dir. Jon Wright
Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Lalor Roddy, Russell Tovey
Review By Greg Klymkiw
When your town is ravaged by monsters: Who ya' gonna' call?
Well, who the fuck else? Drunken Irishmen, of course.
Grabbers is an amiable horror comedy in the gobblingly gruesome, grandly guffaw-inducing tradition of Joe Dante creature features. Set on a remote island paradise (of sorts) is perfectly suited to soused fishermen. It's also a fine breeding ground for slimy squid-like abominations with bone-crushingly powerful tentacles and frightful maws.
A hot young filly from the big city parachutes into the main village to offer temp vacation relief to its only representative of law and order - a boozing member of Ireland's proud national constabulary, the Garda. They're kind of like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police only they do not wear menstrual-blood-soaked uniforms de couleur écarlate, nor do they ride horses with vibrating Maple Leaf flagpoles up their puckered arse-holes. Oh, and unlike the Dudley Do-Rights of the Dominion of Canada, Garda are proudly and mightily pissed-up half the time.
For our hero, nothing a little monster-brawling and romance can't cure.
She's young, eager and perky. He's a grizzled drunk. Love is in the air. Booze is flowing. Monsters are looming. It's Ireland after all.
Did I mention that our heroine is hot? No? Well, she is.
And the monsters are suitably disgusting and deadly.
The first 45 of the movie's 90 minute running time is near-perfect. Gob-stuffed with an Iranian oilfield full of laughs and a clutch of terrific comic performances, the picture is especially blessed with the presence of an utterly brilliant and knee-slappingly hilarious Lalor Roddy. Playing a sort of Jaws-like Quint, this happy-go-lucky, foul-mouthed fisherman is too perpetually pissed to be as Ahab-like as Robert Shaw in Spielberg's famed shark thriller, but goddamn it all to hell, Lalor renders some tremendously hilarious gut-busting thespian gymnastics.
Richard Coyle as our hero is suitably stalwart, even when he's pissed. Russell Tovey is perfectly dweeb-ish as the village's resident man of science whilst Ruth Bradley is suitably babe-o-licious (if a trifle perky - so perky she imbues the need for some healthy Garda schwance-prodding from our hero).
Add to the mix of this gruesome grabber some first-rate gore, terrific special effects and a heroine who is one mighty HOT BABE - have I, perchance, mentioned this yet? - and you've got yourself a grandly funny picture. The F/X in particular are especially cool. It looks like there's some fine prosthetic/model work in addition to the CGI. If it's ALL CGI, then it's feckin' brilliant CGI.
Screenwriter Kevin Lehane crafts a decent scenario, but I was hoping it might go into the slightly more satirical directions some of the 70s monster movies penned by John Sayles for paycheques to cover the costs of his art film forays. As well, Grabbers does spin its wheels in the second half which feels a bit like a combination of script longueurs and a harried, rather than harrowing pace.
No matter. A near perfect first half and plenty of engaging low budget delights add up to an overall pleasing ninety-minutes of your life. You won't get the time back, but the picture gives you such a good run for your money, you probably won't mind.
Oh, and much as I'm dying to spoil this for you, I won't, but I will say that the secret weapon that poisons the monsters - especially the babies - is so appropriate, I suspect you'll piss yourself.
"GRABBERS" is the opening night gala at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2012. For further info, check out the Fest's website HERE.